How to vote early and help end voter disenfranchisement

Election Day is technically on November 6th, but in many states across the country, voting has already begun — and in too many states, some people won’t be able to vote at all.

Early voting is an underutilized tool that can be incredibly beneficial to Democrats. The process varies from state to state, but voting casting a ballot in the weeks leading up to Election Day helps ensure a maximum number of votes, shortens lines at the polls for everyone else, and makes getting out the vote on November 6th that much easier.

There’s a reason why Republicans have sought to curtail early voting in so many states: it has historically been utilized most by working people and minorities.

Voting early helps strengthen democracy. If you’re interested in finding out if your state has opened early voting yet (or when it might start), Vote.org and the New York Times have you covered.

Trying to vote early will also help ensure that you’re not left hanging on Election Day due to the increasingly malicious schemes being run by Republican legislatures and Secretaries of State. Progressives Everywhere has focused a lot on voting rights over the last year, and this week, the national public finally took notice of an egregious but in no way atypical scam being run Brian Kemp, the Georgia Secretary of State and GOP candidate for governor.

There are currently 53,000 voter applications in limbo in Georgia because of unnamed “violations” of the Exact Match system that Georgia uses to disqualify voters. Just 10% of those registrations are from white people, while 70% belong to black voters. Kemp has since 2012 purged a whopping 1.5 million voters from the state books and closed 200 polling places, working diligently to disenfranchise the state’s growing minority population.

His history is a stark contrast to his Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, former State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, whose New Georgia Project worked to register 800,000 voters since 2014.

A coalition of civil rights groups have sued to get those 53,000 registrations confirmed in time for the election so people can fill out real ballots and not provisional ones, and Abrams is working hard to create a network of poll monitors and volunteers to make sure every vote is counted.

Here’s a pretty good summary:

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The race is neck and neck and Kemp’s only hope may be to steal this election. We can’t let that happen. You can donate to Abrams campaign HERE.

Unfortunately, this is just one of many voter suppression schemes. Here are just a taste of the others happening across the country:

How to make sure your vote isn’t stolen

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is disheartening; the manner in which it went down, with misogynist aristocrats ramming through their classless manchild nominee and spitting in the face of women and assault survivors nationwide, was downright infuriating.

So let’s use that fury to change the country. First, make sure you are registered to vote HERE. In New York alone last month, there were legions of people who thought they were registered but has their names missing from the voter rolls when they went to cast a ballot in the primaries. Georgia and Ohio have purged over a million registered voters alone in the last few years. Other states are doing the same. So check to make sure you are registered, the send it to everyone you know.

If you find you aren’t registered, HERE is the registration deadline for every state in the country. Many still accept registrations.

And once you make sure you’re registered, it’s time to do help turn out the vote. Now that we are just a month away from Election Day, I want to focus on GOTV efforts. I’ve been wary of public polling, because they have been so often off the mark. But several polls released last week caught my eye not because they tracked any one race, but because they were meant to gauge voting habits by age and gender.

While the top lines look good for Democrats — a 5-10 point lead in generic ballots, a more motivated voter base (albeit a smaller advantage) — the demographics are troubling. Two separate polls showed that less than a third of young (18-29) voters are actually certain that they’re going to vote: Gallup had the number at 26%, while The Atlantic/PRRI poll put it at 28%. Compare that to older — and inherently more conservative — voters.

For context, Gallup found that 69% of voters 50-64 were certain to vote, and a whopping 82% of voters 65 and over were promising to cast a ballot. Atlantic/PRRI had the senior citizen cohort at 74% absolutely committed to voting.

Even with my skepticism about these polls, a conversation I had last week made me realize that we really do take for granted that party identification and candidate preference automatically translate into votes. I was shocked when a close friend of mine who falls into that 18-29 bracket and is definitely a liberal told me that he hadn’t registered to vote.

Now, I can’t totally blame young people (I’m 32) for feeling like voting is somewhat useless, because even with Obama in office for eight years, the deck continued to be stacked against us. Massive student debt, stagnant wages, limited opportunity, crappy healthcare — Democrats did not do enough to help young people and secure loyal and frequent voters.

But things are demonstrably worse under Republicans, who are teetering toward a mix of autocracy and terrorism, and 2018 is our one real shot at pushing back. We have to devote ourselves to turning out every potential voter we can, and there are a number of progressive organizations working to create unprecedented GOTV operations that will make that happen.

Here’s a look at some of them and how you can help them:

VoteRiders: A group devoted to both fighting Voter ID laws and helping the people who live under them navigate their complicated requirements, so that no one who shows up to vote gets turned away from some racist bureaucratic reason. You can donate to VoteRiders HERE.

Progressive Turnout Project: A grassroots organization that works in individual districts to turn out voters, going door-to-door and making phone calls to engage citizens on a local level. Their record of success is really impressive, starting with last year’s romp in Virginia.

Black Votes Matter: African-Americans are the most loyal Democratic voters, but too often they are either turned away at the polls or otherwise disengaged from what is in many cases a rigged system. But when they vote, Democrats win — 98% of black women voted for Doug Jones last year and helped make history. (There needs to be a conversation about how Democratic politicians need to work hard for their votes and not just pay lip service, which is a topic that must be addressed in 2019.) With so much on the line, Black Votes Matter has been touring the south and organizing local communities to take power, with a focus on winning elections this November.

Stand Up America: An advocacy and political action group active in the resistance over the last two years, Stand Up America has been providing volunteers to campaigns this election cycle, helping beef up Democratic presences in local races.

Make the Road Action: A New York-based advocacy group that is organizing Latinx citizens and workers to take on corporate power and corrupt politicians. The group has fanned out to states across the Northeast this election cycle to help activate Latinx and other voters.

CLICK HERE to donate to one or more of these groups via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!