WTF Community

Mobilizing the WTF community

Hey there, everyone. I just sent this email to Matt. My work informing and mobilizing my circles happens over Faceboook and Twitter rather than here, but I know this is a forum that really cares. I want us all to rise up in this time as effectively and loudly as possible.

Surely we can put together something that Matt can distribute in the daily emails. Like I say at the end - what’s this even for, if we don’t do what matters when it matters?

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Hey there.

First, thank you so much for all the work you do. I’m able to focus more on local issues because I know you’ll sum up what’s happening at the federal level.

Now to the issue. Summing up, we have ~40 days until the election. Trump is actively working to turn the United States into a fascist monument to himself. The Republicans are busy with myriad forms of voter suppression, including planning to leverage faithless electors. And they are openly planning to stack the Supreme Court ASAP with a Trump loyalist who will grant him the Presidency in a contested election.

We quite literally do not have the time for our representatives to under-react to the threat. In my opinion, we urgently need to mobilize every reader we can and every circle they can reach.

  1. Contact our reps at every level, whether Municipal or State, and demand they use every level of power at their disposal. If there was ever a time in the lives of our representatives to pull out every obscure obstructionist rule and break every norm to wield their systemic power for good, NOW is the time.

-States where this is relevant need to quickly draft, and pass, legislation that requires their electors to vote with the will of the people - as decided after every single vote is counted.

-We need more polling places in Black and brown neighborhoods, ASAP.

-We are already seeing early voter intimidation, with Trump supporters blocking entrance to voting locations.

-And more. I want to get this email out tonight, you know the issues I’m talking about here.

  1. Protest. Nonviolence doesn’t mean we can’t be loud, angry, and impossible to ignore. Public pressure is one of the few things that has a chance to bend the levers of power. All who can be need to be out on the streets yesterday. All who can’t be there physically, we need their help behind the scenes organizing and planning protests. We camp in front of city councils, in front of state legislatures, in front of every elected who claims to be worried about Trump but is dragging their feet on concrete action to counter his actions.

I volunteer myself to help draft script(s) to our representatives. If you know someone else who wants to do it, awesome, get on it. But however it happens, I want to mobilize this engaged, informed community to as much specific, targeted action as possible.

If not now, when? What’s this even for?

Far better to overreact and find in January that it wasn’t necessary, than to be overly timid because we couldn’t imagine how desperately we needed to act.

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I’m all for this. How do we get specific on what everyone can do today? And, what’s the best way for me to leverage my platform?

Is there something from this thread we can leverage?

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Additional details: I’m something of a half-American, lived in the Seattle area for 5 years and then was forced to move back to Canada for personal reasons. So I could use help with some details from people more comfortable with which levels are responsible for what. Some things I’m thinking right now:

-Create two scripts. One for the municipal level, one for the state level.
-Specific language on what to demand from municipal elected representatives.
-Specific language on what to demand from state elected representatives.
-How do we set up an easy way for people to send those two sets of emails to their reps? Does someone know how to create that?

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Thanks @matt for getting more mobilization underway.

My thoughts on getting hyper-focused on where to help and what to do.

Call-outs - I have done daily call-outs via joebiden.com. My lists have included mainly battleground states - MN, PA, NC, AZ, FL…and some calls to check on voter registration, as well as see if people can volunteer. They need volunteers. (Go to main website Joebiden.com, menu on far right, click and go to Volunteer, click…options for phone banking)

General results…I may have had 1 conversion, really getting a solid Biden vote with a Vet who rarely voted outside the Republican sphere. In the South, many of the respondents were for Biden, but would not say on the phone, a bit intimidating to get a call asking directly if they are voting for Biden/Harris. But once you got them talking, especially women were vehemently against T, and for Biden. I have found a lot of passion for getting rid of T. And of course many T voters, are not going to talk to me…so we leave it there.

Postcards - have sent to FL mostly. via PostcardsforVoters.org - Send the cards, ask them to ask for Vote By Mail, and give them the - “Dems win when you get out your vote via Mail-in-ballot.”

VoterFwd.org - Write letters, or rather insert a paragraph into the body of a letter you’ve printed out to voters who rarely vote…sending these to TX mostly so far. You register with them, get vetted, and they will send you 5 or 20 letters you pledge to send out. We write the letters and get the cue to mail them sometime in late Oct. No endorsing candidates. Results have been good I am hearing, in that people respond to getting something hand-written. Run by Scott Forman, who ran a test study with results of bumping voter participation by 3%. They hope to send out 10 million letters.

Slack - go to volunteerteam2020.slack.com
They offer ThruTexting. You need to get trained for it. Send out batches of texts (approx 300) and averages with 50 to 100 back in responses.
Slack is sort of a virtual campaign headquarters with a lot of options to help…all digitized.

I am down for getting more information for States where the voter suppression may be the strongest, so I signed onto this 'Voter suppression Hotline" Training for National Voter Assistance Hotline https://mblz.io/oMrus1

Sure…let’s get busy with the state electoral boards, municipalities. We will have an energized electorate for sure.

Will we have any strong laws to protect the success of voting by mail-in ballots? Stacy Abrams https://fairfight.com/ might be a good place to start looking for what are the known/unknowns as the pundits like to say.

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Thank you. This is all extremely useful information, and I’ll be working through it.

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Something I’m trying to find language for, and I feel like I wasn’t as clear as I intended in my initial post…

We know at this stage that regardless of the election results, Trump intends to claim he won. We also know he intends to leverage faithless electors. However absurd his claim that he won the vote, he’ll take it to the Supreme Court. A stacked Supreme Court will rule in his favour.

If that is allowed to happen, it literally doesn’t matter what the votes were, because the decision is not about votes, it’s about legal processes. So in order for all this work towards getting Biden elected to mean something in the end, we have to prevent him from doing that. Not hope, not appeal to Republicans’ better natures, we need to aggressively wield every obstructionist tactic at our disposal to prevent them from carrying out their openly-stated plan.

But… how? Is it enough to draft a script that essentially lays out what I said above, and then hope Democrats get the message? Because that feels naive. Are there specific levers of power we should be asking them to pull? Specific strategies?

This is especially where I could use input from people who understand the system better. I can easily write an impassioned demand. But outside of stating the goal we want accomplished, is there something we can/should be asking them to do to reach that goal?

As I said, considering what we stand to lose, I believe the dangers of under-reacting here are astronomical. I think it would be unimaginably dangerous for us to assume “but that’s illegal, he can’t do that.”

(Minor edits for clarity.)

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I am reading up on some of the electoral legislative powers and how this tactic would hypothetically work. R’s want R legislators to turn the ‘incorrect/fake? ballots’ away, and have their electoral legislator declare a candidate the winner. Where it hypothetically would work is if all parties - Gov, State Atty General and electoral legislators are all Republicans, and there is not opposing party knocking this out.

But read through this article about Wisconsin…it explains some of the dynamics that would need to take place, however, Wisconsin is not in play (see article)

Despite national reports that President Donald Trump could ask GOP-controlled Legislatures to choose loyal electors in the event that he loses the election this fall, Wisconsin election officials said Thursday such a scenario is all but impossible here.

The Atlantic reported this week that, in addition to potentially claiming fraudulent election results if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 3, Trump has allegedly asked GOP leaders in battleground states to circumvent the state’s popular vote and select their own electors to cast votes in the Electoral College, which ultimately determines the winner.

However, Wisconsin statute does not grant state lawmakers the authority to choose electors, Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said Thursday.

“To the best of our knowledge, there’s no role for the Legislature to decide which electors go and which ones don’t,” Magney said.

Magney said representatives with the Democratic, Republican and Constitutional parties will meet in October to select electors. Which electors go to the Electoral College depend on the results of the Nov. 3 election, which are certified by the head of the commission in early December.

After that, Gov. Tony Evers and Secretary of State Doug La Follette send a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration listing the vote totals and electors.

“I think that’s laid out pretty directly and in black and white in the Wisconsin state statute in terms of how that process works and there’s not room for other things to happen in that process," WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe said on a media call with reporters Thursday.

Any change to that process would necessitate legislative action, but that would require the Legislature, which hasn’t formally convened since April, to meet and actively change state law. What’s more, under split government, Evers, a Democrat, could veto such an effort.

In an Atlantic article, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party said he has discussed appointing loyal electors with the Trump campaign, adding that “it is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution.”

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he has not been contacted on the matter.

“There’s no such effort in Wisconsin," Vos said in a statement on Thursday. “The only people who have been working to undermine the election are those who want to ignore the voters in their state and grant electors to the winner of the national popular vote.”

“The Electoral College has worked for more than 200 years and I support the current system," Vos said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, did not respond to requests for comment.

Biden leads Trump 50% to 46% among likely Wisconsin voters in the latest UW-Madison Elections Research Center/Wisconsin State Journal poll.

It does look like Pennsylvania would be in ‘play.’ They have a D Governor Tom Wolf, and a D Atty General Shapiro, who is talking alot about elections now.

Here’s a link to PA elections Voting & Elections

I will leave it here for you to peruse what can be determined from this information. :grinning:

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Thank you again! I’m glad one of us has the energy for hunting this down. :slight_smile:

It may take me a couple days, but I’ll be reading through this, the previous resources, the Atlantic article, and this 20+ page pdf released by the Transition Integrity Project on their wargaming session they ran, and try my best to take notes on what we can specifically ask our representatives to do/what we can do.

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Ballot war games from Wisconsin - watch what the R’s are contesting.

The state’s two most powerful Republican lawmakers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Madison City Clerk’s Office on Friday ahead of a ballot collection event to be held in city parks Saturday, calling the effort “illegal” and warning the ballots would be challenged in court and potentially invalidated.

The threat that this procedure poses to ballot integrity is manifestly obvious,” Misha Tseytlin, former state solicitor general, wrote on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl defended the program Friday, disputing conservative criticism that the event constitutes either illegal ballot harvesting or illegal early voting, which otherwise can’t start until about two weeks before the Nov. 3 election. The cease-and-desist letter does not affect the event and it will continue as planned, she said.

She noted the program involves city poll workers, who are deputized to receive ballots. Ballot harvesting involves the illegal collection of ballots by non-poll workers to be delivered to election officials or ballot boxes. The event also does not amount to early voting because ballots will not be provided to voters who come out. The poll workers will be receiving ballots from those who requested and received absentee ballots.

Conservative lawyer Rick Esenberg, whose law firm has taken up several GOP-supported causes, said in an interview Friday he didn’t plan on challenging the event in court unless it involved non-poll workers or involved distributing ballots.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission received a number of calls and emails conveying concern, but as of Friday evening the WEC had not received a formal complaint about the event, spokesman Reid Magney said.

Nonetheless, Vos and Fitzgerald questioned its legality and security.

Poll workers will attempt to collect absentee ballots at over 200 unsecured, outdoor locations, and only deliver these ballots to the City Clerk’s Office at the end of the six-hour campaign,” Tseytlin, of the law firm Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders, wrote in the letter to Witzel-Behl. “There could be no justification for this ad hoc, unsecure, and unlawful approach that your campaign appears to be creating.”

The statutes cited in the cease-and-desist letter state the ballots are to be returned to the clerk’s office, said Michael Haas, Madison city attorney and former staff council for the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

In this case they’re to be dropped off to sworn election officials,” he said.

Republican Party officials and election observers were invited to participate in the event to make sure proper procedures are followed, as long as they follow predetermined guidelines such as maintaining 6 feet of distance from voters as they interact with poll workers.

It’s hard to see this as anything but an attempt to discourage people from participating in the election,” Haas said.

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Watch what they do…

Federal judge blocks Texas’ elimination of straight-ticket voting

Democrats sued the state in March to overturn the Texas Legislature’s removal of straight-ticket voting.

BY ALEX SAMUELS SEPT. 25, 2020UPDATED: 4 HOURS AGO

The Texas Legislature eliminated straight-ticket voting in 2017. Credit: Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Less than three weeks before early voting begins in Texas, a U.S. district judge has blocked the state from eliminating straight-ticket voting as an option for people who go to the polls this November.

In a ruling issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo cited the coronavirus pandemic, saying the elimination of the voting practice would “cause irreparable injury” to voters “by creating mass lines at the polls and increasing the amount of time voters are exposed to COVID-19.”

She acknowledged the burden the decision could put on local and state election officials, who will have to recalibrate voting machines or reprint ballots. But she reasoned that the potential harm for those suing, including the Texas Association for Retired Americans, was “outweighed by the inconveniences resulting.”

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So. I’ve hit a mental wall. And in the interests of not wasting any more time, I think I’d better admit that I don’t currently have the bandwidth to read/write something highly technical and narrowly targeted. If someone else is up for writing something from that approach, I’d certainly support it, but I don’t think that’s realistically going to be me.

However.

As I’ve been processing, I’m not certain that’s necessarily even the most important thing right now.

Each individual person in office, at any level, has a greater handle than I do on precisely what power they have and what tools are at their disposal. The greater struggle, right now, is to be psychologically prepared to use them. It’s not about telling them what to do. It’s about pushing, and hopefully inspiring in them, who we want them to be.

That’s something I can write. So… I’ll be drafting a script from that angle.

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We’ve been playing whack-a-mole at all incoming distracting and malevolent intentions of those who want the vote to go a certain way. Hard to get our head around any of it, except to get yourself a volunteer position (virtual or otherwise) to help.

There are many ways to support the election…and I have learned a bit more on what’s out there.

I just got trained for the National Voter Assistance Hotline. They explain it as "As a hotline volunteer, you’ll be answering voters’ questions about voting, helping them make a plan to vote early and helping ensure that every eligible voter is able to exercise their right to vote.

At this training, you’ll learn: (1) What to expect as a hotline volunteer and (2) How to answer the most common questions voters will ask."

Victory2020 Voter Assistance Program is a Democratic sponsored voter assistance call-in line, and open to ALL voters wanting to know the where, when and what to do when problems arise. It has volunteers manning phones (your home computer) and fielding questions and incidents, which are recorded (you write up the report) and sent onto another information ‘bank’ - called LBJ - Lawyer-based tracking voter’s issues as the occur, and set up polling place monitoring for incidents. The training explains how to handle any incidents, alerting ‘phone captains,’ and passing an instant report over to monitoring groups.

Sign on here for training https://mblz.io/oMrus1 (you will only be required to do 1- 3 hour shift but of course you can do more)

During the training, and at your ‘call in’ session, they are providing us with a huge statewide voter manual, where we can find out times, locations and give out that kind of information. They also suggest for every voter, give out the www.iwillvote.com web address, which checks all registration information etc.

And I know the Victory 2020 group is hoping to mobilize a lot of volunteers, so sign on and do a bit of something. :smiley:

Oh, and I discovered this legal center which is monitoring voting…you know lawyers are standing by wanting to protect the vote.

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I’ve been working with DemCast and a number of other groups for a while now, creating graphics and doing other odds and ends as needed. I actually designed some things for the Portland protesters at the request of some folks involved with them also. And I am getting involved with my local candidates here.

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Mobilizing efforts -
We have the resources lists…can you list a few within your twitter link…and

1)we can make the ‘resource guide’ very easy to link to

What the Fuck have you done for Democracy Today?


(list a variety of them)

Have you sent money to a candidate?
Have you made calls?
Have you written letters?
Have you volunteered anywhere for democracy - made calls to Congress, protest, made a video,
send letters to Congress, worked for social justice, call out the conspiracy theories,?

Democracy is an ACTION…Tell us what you did.

  1. Incentivize - please comment what you’ve done (twitter responses and within THIS community) - reward - WTF Stickers, Democracy Karma points? who knows?

I have listed what I know…shared information, and volunteered.

That’s what I got. :smiley:

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RE: 1st Debate - what Indivisible is doing for this…
Some links to what to look for…prompts for action just a FYI

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(Responding to my own root post - that seems the easiest way to keep this readable? shrug)

Something else I am paying attention to is the resources here. Personally, I believe we are at a crucial and delicate turning point in American history, and that much of what happens between now and inauguration will be determined by the strength and direction of our public outcry. How can we use various forms of protest to protect democracy and ensure we are impossible for those in power to ignore?


Matt, you asked how you can best use your audience. It’s a really, really hard question. You know the character of your audience best and what sort of content they engage with, not to mention your own capacities. So with that said, here are my current thoughts…

Dragonfly has been fantastic with providing a list of actions we can do for election support right now. That’s awesome. Where my own thoughts focus, is on what happens between election night and the inauguration, and how we can prepare ourselves to protect the work so many are doing now. Imo, both are necessary tactics as part of a cohesive strategy.

What if, during the daily emails between now and the election/inauguration, there was a new subsection asking everyone to get involved in making history themselves.

The first part could be a link to the pinned forum page by Dragonfly with a comprehensive list of actions. Perhaps Dragonfly would be interested in fleshing out their (excellent) post, since it would be getting a broader call out?

The second part could ask viewers to read Choose Democracy’s handbook Hold The Line: A Guide to Defending Democracy and the Transition Integrity Project’s report Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election on their war gaming session modeling what could happen with a variety of different election results, and then to get involved personally by signing up for the next 2 hr training session with ChooseDemocracy.

When you sign the pledge page above AND ask to receive updates, you’ll be notified by email when the next sessions are available.

How does that sound?

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Note: I created a new topic and copied all the posts over. Something happened to that thread that f’d it all up. This should work as expected now.

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I like this idea, but it’s asking too much of people as currently constructed. Can we get more specific with the “ask” and provide an easier on-ramp for non-activists to simply get started and do something?

For example, a comprehensive list of actions is a good database tool, but what people need is to be encouraged to do just one or two things (i.e. write this; text this; email this).

I’m more than happy to amplify what comes out of this discussion. I just need it to be specific and well-defined.

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Copying over this thread for cross-reference

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Alright. What do you think of the construction of this? Heads up that my preview makes both links look the same, but they do direct to different parts of the same landing page.

“Visit ChooseDemocracy.us (hyperlink: Choose Democracy Prepare - Choose Democracy) to learn from history how we can prevent a coup. Sign up (hyperlink: Choose Democracy Prepare - Choose Democracy) with friends for a Zoom training session.”