The presidential election is just around the corner. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans may opt to vote by mail. In a move to undercut our democracy, President Trump announced that his administration is deliberately withholding funding from the US Postal Service and is removing mailboxes and vital mail processing equipment to make it harder to vote by mail.
And, Senate Republicans are failing to act on legislation passed in the House of Representatives to provide $25 million for the USPS, while continuing to block the HEROES act, which would also provide $3.6 billion to states to implement mail-in voting and expanded early voting.
At the same time, voter suppression tactics, which impact Black, brown, and young voters the most, are surging across the country.
We all have an enormous stake in a full and fair vote in November.
Here are 5 actions to take to ensure your vote is counted:
1. Vote early and encourage everyone you know to do so as well.
Make sure you are registered to vote and your registration information is up to date.
If you want to vote by mail, Vote.org will help you determine the rules in your state. If you are voting by mail, make sure to carefully follow the rules on the ballot and envelope; otherwise your vote may not be counted. Some envelopes may say extra postage is necessary. In that case, add your own stamps.
With slowdowns at the post office, and depending on your state, it might be best to drop off your ballot at a ballot drop box in advance of election day.
Many states will have extended early in-person voting as well, where you vote while avoiding crowds.
Check your state’s voting rules now. They may have changed since the primary, and make sure to follow them. Voting early can ensure that your vote is counted!
2. Ensure states and the Postal Service are funded to ensure voting by mail is possible.
Call your US Senators (you can reach them through the US Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) and tell them to pass the Delivering for Democracy Act to provide $25 billion to the Post Office and restore service to where it was on January 1, 2020. This bill was passed in the House with bipartisan support.
And, you can tell your senators to also pass the HEROES act with funding for states and the US Postal Service. The HEROES Act, which passed in the House in May, includes $3.6 billion in funds to state and local governments to ensure their election systems are safe during the pandemic. These funds are essential to ensure a fair election, the cornerstone of our democracy.
Tell your senators that there is no excuse to withhold these funds and that you will be watching how they vote on these issues when you cast your vote in November.
Phone calls to Congress are working, and they are the reason that hearings regarding the USPS were held in both chambers. So, make your calls today!
3. Urge the Board of Governors of the USPS to remove Louis DeJoy as postmaster general.
Dejoy is undercutting the postal services’ ability to deliver ballots on time, which jeopardizes the integrity of the election. You can take action with Green America and our allies through this Daily Kos petition.
4. Fight voter suppression.
The US cannot call itself a democracy when there are widespread practices designed to stop people of color from voting across the US. That’s why it is so important to take action with and financially support the work of The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Fair Fight, Respect My Vote, Black Voters Matter, Common Cause, and the ACLU – all organizations at the forefront of securing voting rights for all.
5. Volunteer -- Younger election volunteers are needed.
In most elections, poll workers are often older persons, who may be retired. Since the elderly are particularly susceptible to COVID-19, and many volunteers may choose not to work the polls this year, younger poll workers are needed. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer, go to Power the Polls to sign up. If you need some convincing, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah makes a powerful case for young people volunteering.