On Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday we emphasized action over celebration. As stated the right to vote is under attack across the nation. We asked you to take action “by demanding that our elected officials pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, and to ensure continued mobilization against the application of the Jim-crow era filibuster that threatens to derail progress.”
Some pushed back, noting that both our Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders already support both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act. And we understand that, but there is still more that we can do. First, we can still certainly tell our Senators to pressure their colleagues who are blocking this progress, and urge them to push for the end of the Jim-Crow era filibuster.
Beyond that we can do more in our local community. Municipal elections have the least voter turn out, but have the most immediate impact on our communities. Whether it’s at the local school board deciding what racist imagery our students are exposed to, or whether we should enact equity policies, or whether it’s an alderman or select board member deciding on city/town policies that affect our very safety. Voting is essential to overall democracy, regardless of the election.
That is why we urge the members of our branch to encourage their communities to develop a voting plan, get education on the candidates, and ask others to do the same.
Whether you live in Brandon or Poultney, Arlington, Rutland or Bennington, we can all do our part.
VOTING PLAN: What does your voting plan look like? Is your registration up-to-date? Do you want to do absentee/mail in voting, if so, did you request your ballot? If you are going to the polls, do you know the location and is there transportation to the polls? These may be simple questions for you, but a community member or neighbor may not have thought this through. Click here to download a flier that you can hang in public spaces with a QR code for registering to vote and another to request an early ballot. You can provide the town offices address and phone by writing it in on the poster if you would like. This will give folks the information to figure out their own voting plan.
CANDIDATE EDUCATION: Many towns have candidates that do not uphold the same values of equality and equity that we do. Please research your candidates. In the next few days, we will distribute the results from our racial justice survey. When we send this to you , you can help distribute it to others as education. Not every candidate participated in the racial justice survey. Failure to fill out the survey is also an answer from the candidate. Check your local newspaper and local access television for insight on the candidates too.
ASK OTHERS: Encourage your neighbors to do the same action steps. Have conversations with them when possible about their voting plan and information that you know about the candidates. Emphasize the necessity to vote in local elections and itits impact.
As mentioned, we are attaching posters for all of you to print and hang in public spaces. Think about places where people come often like grocery stores and fitness centers. Beyond that think of places that are frequently ignored like daycare centers, subsidized housing and food banks.
See you at the polls!