Democracy Initiative Update 08.28.20

Friday, August 28, 2020
Our highlighted issues and actions from the democracy movement in this moment of crisis—please share widely.

TAKE ACTION: NATIONAL POLL WORKER RECRUITMENT DAY KICKOFF

Next Tuesday, September 1 is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, a day of action kicking off a nationwide effort to solve the nation’s pressing need for poll workers.

During a moment when law enforcement’s relationship to the communities they ostensibly serve has been torn apart by police violence, Trump has recently threatened to send sheriffs and police to polling places. In this environment of tension and uncertainty, one of our movement’s foremost priorities is to safeguard the integrity of one of the most important elections of our lifetime. Across the country, however, there is a record shortage of poll workers, which could result in polling place closures, overworked volunteers, and long lines.

DI is an official partner in Power the Polls, a nationwide effort to recruit 250,000 poll workers.

Here’s how to get involved:

  • Take action on Social Media: Power the Polls has created a Poll Worker Recruitment Toolkit, which contains graphics and social media content calling attention to the pressing need for poll workers this year. Please share the toolkit with your social media team.
  • Join the DI and Leadership Conference for a Special Mobilizing Meeting: The DI is holding a special Mobilizing Call on Wednesday, September 2, at 12pm EST in coordination with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights for a discussion on the critical efforts to recruit thousands of poll workers for the 2020 election. David Huynh from Power the Polls will join us to discuss their poll worker recruitment efforts and how DI partners can plug-in to help ensure a safe, fair election for all voters.

Please register here to receive the call-in information for this important Zoom meeting. If your organization has members to activate in Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, please contact DI National Field Manager Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org. Getachew can help you organize a training designed to recruit election volunteers or get your state affiliates plugged in to local coalition recruitment activities.

RELIEF FOR COVID & DEMOCRACY: MOBILIZE FOR USPS AND VOTING SUPPORT IN NEXT BILL

On August 16, the entire Democracy Initiative board issued a clarion call for corporate CEOs to join the fight for a fully funded, safe, accessible election and strong United States Postal Service (USPS) in an op-ed published in USA Today. As AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica, CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres, Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman, League of Women Voters CEO Virginia Kase, and UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry explain the stakes:

"The failure of the U.S. Senate to make a modest investment in our democracy stands in sharp contrast to the huge sums flowing towards those who need it the least. Wealthy corporations have captured a large share of the federal spending that was supposed to help workers and small businesses. Companies are winning trillions in economic aid, including billions in tax breaks for fossil fuel polluters. And now businesses are pressing for protection against liability from COVID-related lawsuits.

In the midst of this maneuvering for private gain, we’re glad to see a segment of the U.S. business community speak for the public interest, with a call for Congress to provide the “necessary funding for safe voting upgrades.” But more private sector voices are needed join this chorus, with the full weight of their lobbying capacity and political muscle.

We are faced with an underfunded electoral system, a deliberate slowdown of the U.S Postal Service, and continued voter suppression. This is unacceptable. No one should let stand overcrowded and unsafe voting places and an untold number of voters disenfranchised – especially in Black and brown communities."

Read the full op-ed here. Click here to retweet our tweet sharing the op-ed.

TRAINING AND MOVEMENT BUILDING UPDATES

100 DAYS OF TRAINING: MAKE A PLAN
Democracy Initiative Education Fund’s training efforts are continuing full speed with less than 70 days to go. We are training activists this year to become VBM Captains, election workers, and poll monitors in key states. Our priority states are FL, GA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NM, PA, VA, and WI. In September, we are partnering with UAW Region 9A to train their members.

NETROOTS NATION PANEL AND TRAINING RECORDINGS LIVE:
Videos of our recent Netroots Nation trainings are available below. Check them out and be sure to sign up for training for your organization here.

DELIVERING FOR AMERICA ACT PASSED BY HOUSE

On August 21, DI co-authored with Declaration for American Democracy a letter urging the House to pass the Delivering for America Act, a critical piece of legislation that would provide $25 billion in immediate support to the United States Postal Service (USPS) and overturn Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s recent operational changes, which have resulted in an unprecedented slowdown in U.S. Mail. As the letter says,

"However, recent efforts by President Trump and his new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have threatened to undermine the USPS at a time when many Americans depend on this vital service more than ever. Tens of millions of Americans will rely on the USPS this year to vote by mail, register to vote, and receive polling information, and it is unconscionable that during a pandemic, Postmaster General DeJoy is decommissioning about ten percent of the USPS’s bulk sorting machines (671 machines nationwide), removing or “re-positioning” hundreds of mailboxes, and instructing mail carriers to leave certain mail behind."

The House passed the Delivering for America Act the following day. Read the letter here.

Our thanks to the 55 organizations who signed on, including DI partners American Family Voices, American Federation of Teachers, Clean Water Action, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Demos Action, Franciscan Action Network, Friends of the Earth Action, Free Speech for People, Greenpeace USA, Jobs with Justice, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of the United States, NAACP, National Education Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, People for the American Way, Progressive Turnout Project, Public Citizen, SEIU, Sierra Club, Small Planet Institute, UnidosUS, United Auto Workers, and Voices for Progress.

DI, alongside partners Arab American Institute, Common Cause, Center for Popular Democracy, Communications Workers of America, Democracy Matters, Franciscan Action Network, Greenpeace USA, Progressive Turnout Project, Public Citizen, SEIU, and Voices for Progress also signed on to a letter authored by End Citizens United urging the Senate to pass the Delivering for America bill, which can be read here.

DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE JOB OPPORTUNITIES

The Democracy Initiative, a dynamic network of 75 organizations, representing over 45 million members, is seeking a highly energetic and creative Campaign Strategist to build campaign goals, strategies, tactics, and strategically align the engagement of our coalition partners and community allies at the local and state level to mobilize around our Democracy 365 Platform—21st-century voting rights, money in politics, and equal representation.

Working at the DI offers a unique, exciting opportunity to be at the center of intersectional movement building in a fast-paced environment to shift political will by breaking structural obstacles to pass transformational social justice policy.

See the full posting here.

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