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General News    H2'ed 11/22/16

"America will be . . . ": What Have We Learned from E2016? The First Election Since VRA Was Gutted in 2013

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"We must get together to fight to vote," he concluded.

"We must own every election," said Barbara Arnwine. The number of young voters is equal to that of old voters, but the young just don't show up. We need automatic voter registration--just like the automatic draft lists that used to send sometimes-reluctant young people overseas to serve and fight. Where states allow same-day voter registration the turnout is largest and in Oregon, which was the first state to initiate automatic registration, in 2015, 80 percent of registered voters voted. This same system is now up and running in the red state of Alaska, proof that the system is a bipartisan project. She spoke of Kansas SoS Kobach's invention of the cross-checking lists extracted from those states that use computerized registration--30 so far and growing.

Now the GOP has won the presidency, and control of Congress and two-thirds of state legislatures. Things will get worse. There are 100 vacancies in lower courts that Trump will get to fill, as well as attorneys in the Department of State's civil rights division, and these hirings, along with many more, will result in "a massive purge of good government employees." Congress could require proof of citizenship of voters nationwide.

Maria Urbana advocated building movements together. Her organization, Voto Latino, will register anyone wishing to vote, not just Latinos. "So much of our suffering coexists together," she said. There must be a "fusion coalition" of those crippled by race and poverty, Barber later noted.

On the subject of hacking into electronic voting machinery, Berman said that hundreds of vendors across the country recalibrate it all of the time. Third-world countries' systems are more secure than ours, because of this country's proprietary software. Even where audits are conducted they may be useless. Touchscreen machinery, which lacks a paper trail, cannot be audited, he said. Donald Trump was correct to anticipate a rigged election, [but this one would put him in office, he must have been thinking all along--ed.].

Ptashnik noted that in short our systems are "not up to snuff."

Faith communities must confront the hypocrisy of the large number of white evangelicals who voted for Trump, said Barber. We must work in the South, where there are 13 ex-Confederate states, 181 electoral votes, 31 percent of the House of Representatives, and 26 senators. He later recommended an article by former NAACP head Benjamin Jealous, "The True South." We must be clear what Fascism is. The Koch brothers and their colleagues have been building a movement for 40 years [that resulted in the present morass]. Large-scale civil disobedience will be necessary. Thousands in this country are activating this, as opposed to millions overseas who object to government actions. There must be sit-ins in federal buildings

"We must force a contextual change in the way politicians work." What can we do to get people to vote?

We must work with local organizations, said Berman. John Lewis, in no official capacity, built a movement in the sixties. Demographics are on our side [italics mine].

There will be a People's Hearing in Congress on December 13, where investigative reporter and best-selling author and filmmaker Greg Palast will testify along with Pace University law professor and environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Ptashnik, who now resides in Mexico, said that he would return to this country to fight. "Our votes must count," he said. As a Child of the Holocaust, he warned that we must "treat every poisonous word as prophecy" rather than writing it off; take haters at their word, assume that they are right, and refuse this as the new normal.

It's a moral problem, not policy, said Moore. Our only duty is to resist and fight back.

Barber recalled how years ago, when he broke his hip, his doctor told him he'd never walk again. "You've got to believe that you can get up and walk again," he said.

Quoting from a famous poem of Langston Hughes written in 1935, the year of the Harlem Riot, "Let America Be America Again," he predicted that "American will be."

Working from the bottom up, concluded Veasey, we must find out what bills are coming up in state legislative sessions (italics mine).

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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