Mon. 4/13: Shock therapy updates: The Wisconsin election was “Voter suppression at its finest.” Time to change the rules.

Image here. Vos quote here. Suppression quote here.

Action – Please email this letter urging funding for a secure all-mail voting system to your two senators and representative.

Below is the long form all Indivisible group leaders are starting with.

You can use it in whole, just a short note with the bullet points, or however you feel you best can communicate the importance of this issue to your legislators. They are listening. Their email contact information is at the bottom.

April (__13___)_, 2020

Dear Senator [____]    { or Representative [___]}

{On behalf of [___], we} {I’m} ask[ing] for your leadership on a crucial issue facing our country:  How do we ensure safe and secure elections in the time of COVID-19?

(You can put in your personal or group experiences with elections or voting. We wrote about our experience with running polling places with our awesome crew of volunteers, how amazing it is that our citizens have such an important role in elections and how much we enjoyed helping people, especially those who might otherwise have found the experience intimidating without the assistance of our patient and bilingual volunteers.)

(You can also write about how distressed you’d be if, like the Wisconsin voters, you were forced out into a pandemic situation instead of being able to send in a mail-in ballot, preferably some reasonable time after you actually received it.)

Reliance on the historical in-person voting model, a structure requiring a large number of people – many of whom are volunteers over the at-risk age of 60, will require systems-level changes in the age of COVID-19.  In light of this unfolding scenario, {we} {I} ask that you champion and support a minimum of $2 billion in funding to support a nationwide scale-up for Vote at Home policies and infrastructure to help ensure the security and efficacy of American elections in the face of today’s threat. 

COVID-19’s ongoing impact heightens the urgency of our elections.  Even with a summer respite possible (and by no means predictable), Dr. Fauci and other respected public health experts anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 arriving from the Southern Hemisphere by autumn. In the best of scenarios, American society faces a severe regime of social distancing and reinforced hygiene until we can develop, test and deploy an effective vaccine.  Our 2020 elections – campaigns, conventions and voting – will occur under pandemic conditions.  Absent assurance of safe voting in this crisis, there will be a steep decline in voter turnout, with unsettling implications for the future of our country.

The attached documents compile the best of what has been gleaned to date from the national election security dialogue, now expanded from its original concerns about cyber threats. We call your particular attention to the piece from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a vast and diverse coalition of major public interest groups. From these materials we see that: 

  • All-mail voting, with hand-marked paper ballots, is our only available means to protect both voter health and voting integrity.  Existing absentee ballot infrastructure in most states already provides the foundation for all-mail voting.
  • Voting machines and related equipment – especially touch screens – are disease vectors and must be decertified and discarded on an urgency basis.
  • Internet voting is a proven cyber risk and must be rejected. 
  • We must take significant measures to secure the chain of custody for mail-in ballots from the voter to the final tally, its reporting and certification. 
  • We must ensure sufficient time to resolve address changes, lost, undelivered and spoiled ballots, signature verification and dispute settlement, language problems, physical disabilities, mail delays and other issues in order to secure every eligible person’s right to vote.
  • Changes of dates, deadlines, and procedures – especially polling place closures – must be widely publicized, and the public must be well-advised to expect health safety needs of vote-processing personnel to extend the wait for election day results.
  • We must recognize that, while Vote by Mail is an essential tool, we must also perfect tools to address needs of disabled persons, communities with poor mail service, voters with language challenges and voters without permanent addresses.
  • Please also address the ever-present GOP threats to privatize the Postal Service. If such an un-American action were to occur, people in poorer and rural areas would be negatively affected.

Our next emergency bill must include funding of at least $2 billion for specific measures to protect voters and their ballots from this viral disease as well as continuing cyber threats to every 2020 election.  The funds will pay for ballot printing, pre-paid postage for every ballot and community education and outreach. Considering the time required to set up essential equipment and infrastructure in time for November elections, we must make funding allocation decisions for at least $2 billion to states by mid-April.

Since states largely handle their own elections, federal funding must be tied to a state’s compliance with prescribed election standards and requirements. The recent $400 million allocation helps states prepare for early and no-excuse absentee ballots, but does not come close to adequately funding vote-by-mail policies required to ensure secure, fair, and accessible elections during this pandemic.

Our right to vote is the foundation of our democracy.  Through the trustworthy non-partisan resource Secure Elections Network, we can connect you or your staff to those thought leaders included in these  resource documents. Please let us know how we can help.

Sincerely,

{Your name,
{Organization Name, if applicable}, Address, contact information}

Linked Documents: 

Vote at Home Strategy Planhere is the scaled up strategy to accomplish Vote At Home in time for November. This document is the case and strategy for the need to fund $2 billion in support by mid April. (https://www.voteathome.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/VAHScale_StrategyPlan.pdf)

The Leadership Conference on Civil Human Rights to Congress 3.22.20  –Voting Rights Task force, an excellent resource of list of organizations who are advocating for fair elections in the time of COVID. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vCgZqITqlfCrWkRH80ViqDM0ZGt1hUWm/view)

Scrutineers LetterThe Scrutineers letter is from a coalition of election security experts on what needs to be done to ensure safe and secure elections in the time of COVID-19.  Scrutineers was created as a one stop shopping to be able to access the deep experience of the professionals who have signed onto this letter – https://tinyurl.com/elections-covid19

(Coalition for Good Governance Recommendations to GA SOS  – this is a cautionary tale of how to corrupt vote by mail – they did so in Georgia – as opposed to best practices in Colorado.  The author is an activist named Marilyn Marks who has been fighting for voting rights in Georgia for years. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Tpu1GCDZgiscrQksL1ewHEhRbPYTJsLc/view)

Contact

Rep. Julia Brownley: email
or Rep. Salud Carbajal:
email
Senator Feinstein: email
and Senator Harris: email 
Who is my representative/senator? :https://whoismyrepresentative.com

 

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