OVERCOMING VOTER SUPPRESSION
Thank you to everyone who joined Monday’s (10/3) Our Homes, Our Votes webinar on overcoming voter suppression!
Pervasive voter suppression has disenfranchised people of color and other underrepresented groups throughout American history. Today, people of color, returning citizens, people with disabilities, older adults, English language learners, and members of other marginalized communities face disproportionate barriers to voting. During the webinar, advocates and activists discussed how they are challenging these obstacles and promoting access to the ballot within communities most affected by voter suppression.
Kelly Sue Waller, lead organizer at the Bedford County Listening Project, shared her organization’s efforts to register and mobilize rural Tennessee voters by emphasizing material issues that directly affect their lives. She described successful tactics – such as integrating voter registration into renter organizing, educating voters about their rights, offering rides to the polls, canvassing neighborhoods, and making follow-up calls – to overcome disengagement and encourage low-propensity voters to cast their ballots.
Lilian Aluri, voting campaign coordinator at REV UP, gave an overview of the power of the disability vote and barriers affecting voters with disabilities. She shared REV UP campaign resources that all organizations can use to ensure their voting outreach is accessible. She emphasized the importance of supporting voters with disabilities who hold multiple marginalized identities and thus face multiple compounding barriers to voting.
Allison Neswood, staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund, discussed the combination of structural factors, contemporary biases, and voting policies that suppress the Native vote. She highlighted the growing prominence of Native American elected officials, as well as backlash to these political victories, and outlined solutions to lower the cost of voting for Native communities.
The next webinar, “Election Day: Getting Out the Vote and Preventing Voter Intimidation,” will be held on Monday, October 31, at 2:30 pm ET. Election Day is an all-hands-on-deck effort to get voters to the polls – the culmination of months of voter registration, education, and mobilization activities. Panelists will review the most effective Election Day Get Out the Vote (GOTV) tactics, such as coordinating rides to the polls, hosting community walks to the polls, bringing snacks and music to keep people in line at busy polling locations, and recruiting volunteers to follow up with those who have not yet voted. The webinar will also explore efforts to protect against voter intimidation campaigns, which are often intended to deter low-income people and communities of color from voting. The panel will feature Morgan Conley, national Election Protection coordinator at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Blake Tyler, voting rights organizer at the Granite State Organizing Project.
Visit the Our Homes, Our Votes website to preview the dates and topics for the full series.
Kelly Sue Waller, Bedford County Listening Project
Lilian Aluri, REV UP
Allison Neswood, Native American Rights Fund
Courtney Cooperman, NLIHC