Keep Calm and Mobilize the Expat Vote
In close races, the number of overseas voters can determine the winner and the future of our country. I was shocked to learn that Democrats Abroad set their 2020 voter turnout goal at a measly 20% of eligible Americans living overseas— which is double the paltry 10% it’s been in the past. This is NOT a typical election, and we can’t afford to let 5,500,000 eligible expat voters sit this one out.
Want to help mobilize those votes? Work with Vote From Abroad.
Here’s an idea: forward this newsletter to any expat friends who may not be planning to vote.
I think your mother is calling you. Also, the veterans. Moms form a human wall to shield protesters from federal officers in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Nathan Howard/Rex/Shutterstock)
Fascist and Furious
At last—I have something in common with my libertarian-leaning sibs. Now we're ALL alarmed at the images of unidentified paramilitary troops hustling demonstators into unmarked vans! Who are these guys? Where will they turn up next?
Relax, everyone! They're just "Trump troops", coming to a Democratic city near you to boost the president's law-and-order bona-fides.
Say YOUR Name:
On Point: Unidentified Federal Officers Are Scooping Up Protesters In Portland. Are Other Cities Next? (Podcast, 46 min)
“This is a democracy—talk to us, don’t shoot us!”
Salon: "Violent anarchists" are the new "migrant caravans" by Amanda Marcotte
Take people who are both peaceful and opposed to violence—refugees fleeing violence, protesters objecting to police brutality—and portray them as a threat to life and limb...and most importantly, to property.
Up in flames:
AdAge: Der Spiegel asks, Should we be worried about the United States?
Just for fun:
Writing these letters gets more voters to the polls—and helps me work off some of my outrage. Learn about Vote Forward. Are you in the US? Sign up with Vote Forward.
Fired Up to Fire Trump?
Want to Do Something About It—Now?
With so many customary campaign activities curtailed by COVID-19, people are finding creative ways to motivate undecideds to go to the polls. I’m part of Vote Forward, a group working with Indivisible and Swing Left to organize a massive letter-writing campaign (2.6 million so far).
Does it work? Yes! In multiple randomized trials, voters who received a letter were significantly more likely to vote. It only boosted turnout by a point or two, but in close contests, that’s enough to matter. If you’re in the US this summer, this is a great way to make an impact.
How does it work? They provide the names and addresses of people likely to be on the fence and a template for a letter that you complete with a short, handwritten note. You mail them just before the election, when they’ll do the most good. Can’t wait? Right now there’s a hot primary in Florida, with Vote Forward letters going out in the next few weeks.
Whenever I’m enraged over the latest madness from the White House, I pick up a pen and write another letter. As you can imagine, I’m writing a lot of letters these days.
John Lewis at the annual Bloody Sunday March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020. Lewis made expanding access to the ballot his life’s mission. A bill to restore the Voting Rights Act he championed has been sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk for 225 days. (JOSHUA LOTT/AFP, Getty Images)
Escape from Covidland
I finally got back to Spain this week, after 5 months in the US. I will miss aspects of my shutdown life in Pittsburgh—vegetarian dinners with the cuñado, Monster Movie Night, porch-to-porch chats with the neighbors—but it’s good to be home! I hope the folks back there can stay well; let's vote our way out of this leadership catastrophe when November comes.
99% Invisible: Freedom House Ambulance Service (Podcast + transcript)
The world’s first paramedic crews, young Black men from the Hill District of Pittsburgh, were comprehensively-trained first responders at a time when “swoop and scoop” ambulances were manned by police, firefighters, or funeral home workers.
Armed and Dangerous:
OPB: Research Tentatively Links COVID-19 Gun Sales Spike To Increased Violence by Jason deBruyn
Researchers estimate that Americans bought 2.1 million more firearms than normal during the months in which the coronavirus pandemic began to hit hardest in the United States. Firearms violence increased by 8% in that period, including shootings, homicides and suicides.
Lost in the Mail:
ProPublica: The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election? by Ryan McCarthy and Maryam Jameel. After years of budget cuts and plant closures, mail delivery has slowed so much that ballot deadlines in many states are no longer realistic.
Just for fun: On the Road with Jimmy the Crow
What I Wish I'd Told That Heckler
Several evenings a week, four of us spend an hour standing at a busy California intersection holding up signs that say “Black Lives Matter” and “Honk for Justice.” Most people honk cheerfully, many wave, a few cheer, and some shout encouraging words. Of course, we get our hecklers too, including one who yelled crossly, “Don’t all lives matter?” If he hadn’t driven away so fast, this is what I’d have liked to tell him.
I first saw this meme on the Facebook page of a conservative friend. A hopeful sign!
Exercize your rights
In the face of outrages of every kind from the Trump administration, more segments of society than ever before are pushing their members to register and vote. We have seen efforts from environmentalists, LGBTQ groups, health care professionals, communities of color, educators, expats—and now, the buff wellness gurus have their say.
Take a Vote:
The New Yorker: Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure? by Sue Halpern
There are more than nine thousand election jurisdictions in the country, each with its own requirements—variable, sometimes onerous, and subject to politics. (Long read)
The Root: Mississippi Election Commissioner Complains That 'Blacks' Are Registering to Vote by Ishena Robinson
Why the concern at Black people registering to vote? And the implication that there is a distinction between “blacks” and “people in Mississippi”?
To Tell the Truth:
RawStory: Evangelical minister in Mike Pence’s Indiana prayer group says he’s voting for Biden by Brad Reed
‘Brother Mike, Jesus commands you to love your neighbor, not love your boss,'
Slate: The Pipeline Setbacks Reveal the Perils of Rushed Agency Approvals by Jayni Hein
The legal battles against these efforts are paying off, mainly due to government agencies cutting corners. The laws already on the books are working—and working particularly well in the face of bureaucratic incompetence.
Just for fun: Testing, testing...
Voting in a Pandemic Year
Help make the 2020 election free, fair, accessible, and secure,
from the Brennan Center for Justice
Learn More About Candidates and Issues!
Have You Been Purged? Are You Sure?
“I checked on my own voter registration,” a reader wrote in response to Registration Nation in last week’s newsletter. “And yes, I'm registered. But I can't remember if I last voted when I was in California, or was it over here. So I'll have to call the elections department in Ventura to find out. That might be a question other people who live over here should check out.”
As expats, our lives are more geographically fluid than most. We tend to use more than one address and might be registered at our last US residence, the one before that, or the home of a relative. We might have requested an absentee ballot to be sent by snail mail to one of those addresses instead of email. We could get lost in the shuffle. Or purged, which is part of the voter suppression playbook.
Right now, a lot of people are trying to keep you from casting your ballot. “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes,” Trump re-election advisor Justin Clark said in December. “That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
Don’t let them get away with it!
Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York is part of a movement to reclaim Black farmers’ place in US agriculture, training the next generation of Black and brown farmers in modern sustainable agriculture as well as providing food and medicine for the community.
The 'R' Word:
Sports Illustrated: Five Potential New Names for Washington’s Football Team by Conor Orr
Why not play simply as "Washington" in 2020, while giving the fans a chance to weigh in on options that are meaningful or appealing to them?
'Tis of Thee:
NPR: For Some Black Americans, Love Of Country Means Holding It Accountable (Podcast, 5 min)
"It's such a tragedy, because I feel kind of entitled to patriotism. Our ancestors built this country. We should be able to be proud of it," says Jonathan Horton of Pasadena CA.
For Nerds only:
Slate Money: The Deficit Myth (Podcast, 55 min)
Turns out it’s not like your household budget after all. The US really could support the economy and subsidize wages for workers idled by the pandemic, as many EU countries have done.
Show Me the Money:
ProPublica: Why Do People Want to See Donald Trump’s Tax Returns? by Kristen Doerer
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP and Trump v. Vance. Separately, the House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department for Trump’s tax returns, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defied the committee’s subpoena. (From the series Trump, Inc.)
Learn More About Candidates and Issues!
Alert Resisters Emily and Lee reminded us this week that it's important to ask: Are you registered? Are you sure? Check your voter registration status HERE.
A friend told me that he has put off registering to vote since moving last year. He doesn't want to be on a list that will make him more likely to be called for jury duty. (Mind you, a few well-chosen words on his views on prison reform would likely get him dismissed anyway.)
Why don't people register, given the hair-raising consequences of the last presidential election? Some just don’t want to vote. "But many others believe that they can’t or shouldn’t get registered because they’re not allowed, or because their registration could come at a personal cost,” Lelia Sales observed in Lifehacker, where she debunks the myths surrounding the downside of registering to vote.
The Show-Up State:
Vote Smart: North Dakota is the only state without voter registration.
Here’s the catch—many voters in ND don’t have ID with a residential address, and obtaining one can be time-consuming. A recent agreement will ensure that tribal IDs and tribally designated street addresses are accepted as valid.
Center for Public Integrity: Elderly workers run elections. But COVID-19 will keep many home by Carrie Levine
In-person access to the ballot box rests on the vulnerable shoulders of a cohort of steadfast, but elderly, election workers at high risk of illness or death should they contract COVID-19.
FiveThirtyEight: New Voter Registrations Have Nosedived During COVID-19 (Podcast, 33 min. Video here.)
Voter registration has fallen off during the pandemic, which has also had an impact on Americans’ ability to cast primary ballots. What is ahead for November?
Vox: Trump’s reality TV presidency is being crushed by reality by Ezra Klein
Polling should be taken as information, not as prediction. But the information it offers is real: Trump’s political position is collapsing.
Ready to do your bit to save our democracy — and the planet?
Learn more about Climate Recovery!
resist the madness!
American Resistance Sevilla is a non-partisan community mobilizing Americans living abroad to take peaceful action defending our lawful rights and freedoms. Learn more