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Trump is trying to steal the November election. Here’s how we stop him.

by Vanessa Butterworth

August 7, 2020

The story of white supremacy, voter suppression, and how people power will beat the odds for the November presidential elections in the U.S.

Last week marked the 55th anniversary since the Voting Rights Act was passed prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

The Voting Rights Act is one of the most far-reaching and hard fought pieces of civil rights legislation this country has seen. It removed local and state-based legal barriers that intentionally prevented Black people from exercising their right to vote.

The Voting Rights Act was not only a victory for Civil Rights activists fighting for policy change, but a deep cultural victory against white supremacy and the violent tyranny of the KKK.

Since then, anti-democratic forces have chewed away at voting rights in order to manipulate political outcomes, expand their party’s power, and preserve white hegemony.

Most notably in 2013, the Supreme Court significantly weakened the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder by striking down a key piece of the legislation so that states with a history of racial discrimination no longer had to prove their voting laws do not discriminate.

 

Over the past seven years, voter suppression tactics have run rampant in some states including discriminatory voter ID requirements, voter registration restrictions, felony disenfranchisement, voter roll purges, lack of language access, racial gerrymandering, mass closure of polling places in Black and Brown communities, and more. These tactics are meant to diminish and deny political power to BIPOC people.

Now with the thundering rise of white supremacy to mainstream politics once again mixed in with Trump’s racism and the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, things are getting extremely dangerous for democracy in the U.S.

Enter Trump, COVID-19, and the November presidential election.

Because of the perpetual shroud of controversy surrounding him and his electability, efforts to dismantle the US Postal Service (USPS), discredit mail-in voting, and use COVID-19 as a weapon against his opponents have become core tactics for the Trump administration to steal the November presidential election.

For months now, the Trump administration and media outlets like Fox News have seeded and perpetuated misinformation about the real danger of contracting COVID-19 and have married themselves to the false argument that vote-by-mail balloting is a recipe for fraud without any evidence to support the claims. Trump has also openly advocated for dismantling the US Postal Service (USPS) — an American institution that employs more than 600,000 workers, is the largest employer in some states, and is a vital source of connection for the country’s most marginalized people.

It’s not a coincidence that Trump wants to destroy the USPS at a time when the country is calling out for alternatives to in-person voting. Trump’s current attacks on vote-by-mail are part of a tried and true plan that intentionally drives down voter turnout and disenfranchises Black and Brown, young, elderly, and disabled voters. And, his election was a result of the growing political corruption and stratification of white power that’s been happening in the U.S. in recent decades.

Tee Wright of Washington poses for images in front to the Black Lives Matter Banner.

The predatory and unjust nature of US politics has become so apparent with the election of Trump. He has held up a mirror to the social and economic state of the U.S. and, for the first time in a long time, has reflected back an image so callous that it’s impossible for politicians and people to look away from what they previously refused to see.

Here’s how we stop Trump’s voter suppression agenda.

As we celebrate the passing of the Voting Rights Act this week, we need to double down on ensuring everyone has access to vote and that those votes are accurately counted.

This is how we honor the legacy of activists like MLK, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, and the many other civil rights champions who fought so hard against racism, segregation, barbaric Jim Crow laws, and socioeconomic inequality.

Here are some ways to take action now.

  • Universal vote-by-mail, extended early in-person voting, and no excuse absentee ballots with prepaid postage must become a permanent feature of our electoral process at local, state, and federal levels. And, for expanded vote-by-mail to work, Congress must also adequately fund the U.S. Postal Service. The House-passed HEROES Act includes $25 billion for the USPS and funding for states to put in place the necessary infrastructure for safe and fair November elections (including vote-by-mail). Tell your Senator to follow the House’s lead now.
  • Support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by writing or calling your Senator to vote for it. The bill would restore, repair, and strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act!
  • Do your research and donate to Black-led groups and organizations who are fighting against voter suppression where you live.
  • Register to vote right NOW with Vote America!
Vanessa Butterworth

By Vanessa Butterworth

Vanessa currently works as the Senior Digital Strategist at Greenpeace and sits on the Rising Tide North America organizing team. Outside of paid work, she organizes with frontline groups against police brutality, gentrification, and environmental racism. Over the past ten years, she's worked on campaign, mobilization, direct action, and movement strategy across the US and Canada. She's originally from Mississauga of the New Credit Territory as known as Caledon, Ontario, but now lives in Oakland, California on Ohlone Territory.

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