One of the readers of this blogspot has offered information on how we can fight back against the likely GOP attempt to steal this election. As I've noted in the prior two postings, voter suppression by the GOP in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida could lose us those three key states. And the election!
Reader Bennnenji has suggested we do as he's doing and write emails to the federal Department of Justice at doj.org urging federal protection of the vote. He also has provided a phone number for help at 1-866-MyVote1, plus an address for the NAACP at naacp.org.
When you contact these organizations, please let me hear about your experience by posting a comment to this column. I know posting comments is work, but we have to do something at the grassroots level to fight off the fiends. Let's share ideas and information!
What else can we do?
Bad stuff happens when no one is looking. Do whatever you can STARTING NOW to turn the spotlight on this issue in your own location. GOP voter suppression can hit anywhere through lack of enough polling places, shortened hours, inadequate polling staff, badly done purging of registration lists. But it won't happen if you push the media into keeping an eye on things. AND HERE'S HOW in broad terms. (If you need models of press releases, etc., let me know by commenting on this posting.)
FORM A GROUP NOW! If it's only a handful of you, that's fine. Just call yourself something like "Protecting Our Votes". Two of you would actually be twice what you need to be "a watchdog". Remember there was only ONE Ralph Nader hounding the auto industry! In this kind of effort, numbers don't matter. One LOUD voice is what matters.
ISSUE A PRESS RELEASE saying you will be watch-dogging the voting preparations. The press release should state some of your "concerns" in the form of questions, e.g. Will there be enough polling places? etc. Don't make accusations at this point unless you have hard evidence of problems. Accusations come later.) In the press release, justify your concerns by saying that the reporting in the media has "raised serious concerns". The media loves to think someone is paying attention to stuff they've already put out. And your statement gives the media a second bite at an apple it's already picked. Keep the press release short and include you as "Contact", with phone number, address and email address. FOLLOW THROUGH with a phone call to be your media outlets "to be sure you folks got our press release." Chat them up, saying the media has done a great job alerting the public to the issue. Get the name of the reporter, write it down and USE IT thereafter.
SEND A LETTER from your "group" (hard copy) to your state's official in charge of voting (typically the "secretary of state"). Ask for a meeting about your concerns. Then simultaneously send out another PRESS RELEASE saying you have asked for this meeting.
HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE if you haven't heard back from the state official in ten days. NOW YOU CAN START SOUNDING TOUGH! This "public servant" won't even meet with "worried citizens"! What an outrage! (Always grab the high ground after first being ever so polite and reasonable, as you were in that letter.)
HOW TO HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE? Get a room in a public building or bank conference room, church room or whatever. Notify the media a couple of days in advance by email, then follow-up with a phone call. Set the time for about 10 a.m. In notifying the media, grab attention with something like this: "Secretary of State So and So is ignoring citizen concerns about voting rights." Don't get into specifics that the official can reply to before your press conference. To add real sex appeal to your announcement of the press conference, add that your group will seek "federal intervention" if the state official continues "to stonewall".
BEFORE THE PRESS CONFERENCE prepare a written handout stating your gripe: that the official is failing to hear citizens concerns and that this raises your concerns even further! "What's going on behind official closed doors?"
Now, honey, you have the upper-hand! And are you still nervous about what to do exactly at the press conference and what your subsequent steps are? TUNE IN NEXT TIME for more on how to tear apart tyrants.
I did this stuff to Nixon, Reagan, Congressmen, big corporations, etc. IT'S FUN. And IT WORKS! We few - we blessed few - can make a fight that can change anything! IT'S THE AMERICAN WAY!
Remember that the Tea Party - which has just had its doll baby chosen as the GOP veep candidate - started with a handful of people doing an April 15 tax protest in 2009. And the rest is history.
So can we turn the spotlight on the voting process in our own area? YES WE CAN!
Mitt, we're still waiting for those tax returns! Give us at least as many as you demanded from Paul "Eddie" Ryan when vetting him for veep.