Given Trump’s on-going incitement of white supremacists to intimidate voters at the polls, is anyone still wondering why they should vote by mail?
I put my ballot in the mail on Monday without even leaving my house. It was picked up by a mail carrier (working so late that they were wearing a headlamp). Today, Wednesday morning, I got a text from http://northcarolina.ballottrax.net that it’s on the way to the Durham County Board of Elections! So easy. The hardest part was finding an adult to “witness” my absentee ballot.
The BallotTrax system is reliable and safe. Certainly safer than I feel about going to vote in person. If you don’t think Trump’s pals will find more ways to make voting harder, riskier (because of COVID) and scarier (because of white supremacists) in the next month then you are definitely not paying attention.
Why tempt a very uncertain future when you can safely vote from home? Republicans want you to to not trust the USPS, but mail carriers are on our side. They’re working their butts off to make sure our votes get delivered and BallotTrax (thanks to NC’s excellent Attorney General Josh Stein) ensures ballots will be counted.
I have lived in North Carolina since I was two years old, and now I’m raising my son here. I have personally been from Murphy to Manteo (not all in one day!) and I truly love this state.
I attended the very first HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) 11 years ago, and almost all of them since then! Thanks to the visionary leadership of the Reverend William Barber of the NC NAACP organizing HKonJ and then Moral Mondays we have been able to bring together a huge community of advocates around civil rights, the environment, workers, women’s rights, stopping unjust wars, and much more. It’s important for me to raise my voice along side theirs because I know we are all in this together.
We have to take our state back from those who only want power and money. We have to stand together at HKonJ, now known as the Moral March on Raleigh, to show our strength and build this community for the future.
If the legitimacy of the government derives from the consent of the majority, then at some point, we will have to address this disjuncture between the popular will and our elected bodies. We should start with nonpartisan redistricting reforms, and a fresh look at the Electoral College. But Mr. Trump’s comments make the adoption of democratic reforms that much harder.
Second, there’s a more insidious longer-term purpose here as well. Propaganda about illegal voting has been used — throughout history and in modern times — to justify unnecessary restrictions on voting. Unpopular incumbents like Mr. Trump can help their odds of re-election with measures that make it harder for people to vote.
I just learned that the suspicious and misleading robocalls from “Lamont Williams” to North Carolina voters, were actually the work of Women’s Voices, Women Vote. WVWV is an organization that works to empower single female voters, and which I used to support. Turns out they have a habit of sending poorly-timed voter registration information, causing thousands of voters to mistakenly think they are not registered to vote!
WUNC’s Laura Leslie posted the audio of the robocall on her blog on Monday, but as far as I can tell has not actually done a story about it. (She’s probably too busy begging for money. Way to schedule a pledge drive at the height of our primary, WUNC!)
Today I read a long investigative piece by my friend Chris Kromm at the Institute for Southern Studies that shows that WVWV was behind this, and that they have been confusing voters all over the nation with their automated phone calls and voter registration packets. “Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.”
WVWV claims that their campaign in North Carolina was designed to get unregistered, single, female voters to register to vote in the November general election. However, there is overwhelming evidence indicating quite the opposite. For example:
The voice on the calls is a male calling himself “Lamont Williams.” Not exactly ideal for the supposedly female target audience.
Many of the people who received the calls are married, male, and/or already registered.
WVWV is no newcomer to politics. They have been operating since at least the 2004 election. They are a well-funded organization with a savvy staff. The two top leaders each have at least two decades of political experience a piece. (One as Congressman David Price’s ’96 campaign manager – the one year Price lost.)
In fact, many WVWV staff and advisors gained experience working for the Clinton Whitehouse. For example, board member John Podesta (President and CEO of the Center for American Progress) served as President Clinton’s Chief of Staff for over two years.
There is no way that these seasoned political operatives could have missed the fact of our prominent May 6 primary, or that anyone with experience in voter engagement wouldn’t be fully aware of the timing involved.
I can only logically conclude that they are either intentionally suppressing voters (in an Obama-friendly state, hmm) or are criminally negligent and unable to carry out their stated mission of “Improving unmarried women’s participation in the electorate and policy process.” Either way, the only responsible step I can imagine is immediately cease operations and consider whether to reorganize or disband this organization.