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Voters wearing masks wait in line to vote in Wisconsin’s April 7 primary. (Photo COURTESY of IHolmes/WE)
Voters wearing masks wait in line to vote in Wisconsin’s April 7 primary. (Photo COURTESY of IHolmes/WE )

November 3, 2020 Election
What We CAN DO

Jun 30, 2020

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by Tish Levee

It’s coming this November 3rd. I don’t remember any election more critical to our country’s (and the world’s) welfare. I’ve been voting since 1962, and this is the most important election of my lifetime. As a climate activist, I cannot think of a more critical time for us to elect leaders who will lead us during the ongoing Climate Crisis.

At the same time, we are faced with a pandemic and a global recession, if not a depression, for which we need competent and dedicated leadership. 

And then, if that isn’t enough, our American “original sin” of racism finally must be dealt with — we need to have social, economic, political, and climate justice for all people, especially those who have been denied it for so long — Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and other people of color.

While those we elect to national office, including the Senate and the Congress, will make a real difference in how we deal with these problems, we must also be electing effective leadership at the local and state level. Many changes come from the local level and “trickle up.”

As this is a census year, state legislatures and the Congress must be redistricted by 2022. State officials will govern how fair that   redistricting is.

In most states, the state legislature is in charge of drawing congressional district lines. State legislatures may use their power to influence the likely partisan makeup of the legislature, discourage electoral competition and/or generally hurt their political enemies. Source: FairVote and Ballotpedia.

This is why it is so critical that we all vote for the leaders we feel will best represent us in dealing with all these problems and in ensuring fair redistricting in the future.

Also, all of us need to do everything we can to make sure everyone who wants to vote CAN, and that they can do safely AND fairly. We who live in California aren’t as likely to run into problems doing that. But we all need to do what we can to help people in areas where voter suppression has been common or where people have had to stand in line — during a pandemic — for hours to vote OR have had their requests for absentee ballots denied or “lost.”

Right now, many of us have been reacting to the murder of George Floyd (and many other Black people in recent times) by protesting. However, in the face of COVID-19, many of us (including older people such as myself) don’t feel that we can safely go out to publicly protest, in the same way we haven’t felt safe to protest for the climate.

Click on image to see the staust of states regarding vote by mail. Source: National Conference of State Legislature.

So what CAN we DO?

   •   Register AND vote for local, state, and federal officials. Check to make sure your registration is valid by checking at   https://tinyurl.com/yaugku89.   

   •   Make sure NO one has to choose between voting and their health or lives;support vote-by-mail. Contact your Senators and Congressperson NOW to insist Congress allocate the funding to states for safe elections this year.

—  https://p2a.co/PIoicZM

   •   There are many organizations working on funding for vote-by-mail elections. Google “safe and fair elections” to find some of them.

—  https://www.whenweallvote.org/safevoting

—  https://www.fairvote.org/ensuring_safe_and_fair_elections_in_a_pandemic

   •   Vote-by-mail is the safest and fairest way to hold an election.  (As of May, California is an all-mail ballot election state.)

   •   However, for mail-in ballots to work, we must have a functioning Post Office. The pandemic reduced the Post Office’s income from first class mail and marketing mail by as much as 50%.The administration has opposed any bailout stimulus money for the Post Office. Buying stamps is a way you can help. Just half the Americans over age 18 buying a sheet of 20 Forever stamps would raise about $1.15 billion. Find nearly 50 different Forever stamps at  https://tinyurl.com/ycvjzdjg . Why not get your holiday stamps early while they have them?

   •   Educate yourself. To make the social and economic changes our society needs to overcome institutional racism, we need to do more than just be non-racist; we must be actively anti-racist. Become a helpful ally by starting to educate yourself and listening to black people’s stories about their experiences. 

   •   The June 9th issue of Time Magazine has several suggestions of other things to do besides physically protesting, including links to books and movies. Go tohttps://tinyurl.com/y7834hk5

   •   Join the NAACPhttps://tinyurl.com/ybrwyazt . The NAACP, founded in 1909, is the nation’s foremost, largest, and most widely recognized civil rights organization. Membership is only $30.

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Tish Levee, a climate activist, writes the column, “For the Planet,” bi-monthly in the Gazette.

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