What’s going on?
We’re in the final days of high stakes 2016 election with Donald Trump continuing to claim that the election is “rigged” against him. He has even said that he may not accept the result if Hillary Clinton wins. Just as frighteningly, he has increased the likelihood of voter intimidation primarily targeting people of color by warning his supporters about “voter fraud” and telling them to “go check out areas” in cities like Philadelphia.
In the meantime, as Ari Berman has written at The Nation, the real threat to our democracy lies not from non-existent voter fraud but in voter suppression laws that threaten to prevent qualified citizens from exercising their right.
Voting should be easy and inclusive—and in the final week of the election, we need to do everything in our power to make it that way.
What can I do?
One way we can stand up against attempts to suppress the vote is to get out and vote ourselves—and to make sure our friends, family, and neighbors can also exercise their right. That’s why The Nation and the Brennan Center for Justice have organized a voter pledge in partnership with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, Rock the Vote, Daily Kos, and 18MillionRising.org. The pledge asks Americans to take four simple steps, including voting oneself and spreading the word about 866-OUR-VOTE, a hotline available for anyone who has trouble at the polls. Click here to read and sign the pledge.
We’re also asking readers to consider donating their time through VoterVox, an app that matches volunteer translators with people who need help voting and Carpool Vote which matches people with cars with people who need a ride to the polls.
In his reporting on the 2016 election, the first without the full protections of the historic Voting Rights Act, Berman has talked to long-time voters who may not be able to exercise their right because of harsh voter id laws: a 100-year-old African-American woman in North Carolina who had her voter registration challenged after participating regularly for twenty-four years and a 90-year-old woman in Wisconsin who was told her identification was insignificant. He also uncovered a memo from a city clerk in Green Bay who opposed opening a new early voting site because “students lean more toward the democrats.” Check out the rest of Berman’s work here.