“We were born for this moment,” declared John Sorensen, EAN Founder, at the conclusion of the Elders Stand for Fair Elections (ESFE) second Town Hall Meeting on July 8th. Over 135 people from across the US joined in this online event about how to become engaged in this critical and timely initiative to ensure that every eligible voter vote – safely and fairly – in the 2020 Election.
In this Town Hall we were challenged to participate – individually and collectively – in 7 Days of Action. We were given an Action List that offers a wide variety of non-partisan actions, with the goal of building momentum in these 17 weeks until the fast approaching November 3rd Election.
Paul Dryfoos, EFSE co-leader, articulated the critical nature of this endeavor to combat a possible “perfect storm of voter suppression”: First, the spreading Covid19 pandemic making traditional voting risky; Second, the widely perpetuated and completely unsubstantiated myth of fraud with regard to Mail-In Voting; and third, the systemic and ongoing efforts to suppress the votes of eligible voters.
ESFE has already established initiatives in seven states with known voter suppression and with excellent prospects for making a difference, including Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Each state organizer briefed us on their initiatives and needs for volunteers. Their common strategy is to build partnerships with existing organizations, such as The League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and ACLU – all focused on ensuring fair elections in 2020.
Volunteers are needed for outreach initiatives to get information to marginalized voters – especially People of Color, Native Americans, “returning citizens” (former felons), as well as senior citizens and congregations of many religious traditions. Volunteers are also needed for projects aimed at changing restrictive voting laws and regulations, with particular emphasis on securing expanded Mail-In Balloting. To volunteer for a state team, click here: Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or email us at FairElections@eldersaction.org if you’d like to help set up a state team in another state. (We’re particularly interested in getting something going in our “watch states” – Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada.)
Attendees initially participated in breakout groups speaking to the question, “What is my hope for the future and what brings me here today?” Interest and excitement were high, as evidenced by the concern, hope, and passion expressed in the small groups, as well as the number of questions and helpful suggestions offered in the question and answer period. At the end of the gathering it was easy to imagine participants rallying behind John Sorensen’s concluding exhortation: “We elders are part of a growing pro-democracy movement across the country. Our future depends on good government and we owe it to our grandchildren, future generations, and all life to act now. We were born for this moment.”
Thank you to Meg Newhouse and Maribeth Goodman for this report.