Elders for Sound Democracy
2022 Voting Rights Campaign
In response to voting rights suppression during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elders Action Network responded by launching “Elders Stand for Fair Elections” (ESFE) in April 2020. State teams were formed in Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, reaching out to thousands of marginalized voters in senior centers, assisted living facilities, colleges, and minority communities. ESFE members helped them register, receive and understand voting information, travel to the polls to vote, vote by mail, and generally be informed of their rights. ESFE managed the distribution of radio Public Service Announcements on 188 radio stations in 28 states, and engaged hundreds of friends and family members to join in the overall undertaking. The overall success built team-member confidence, and valuable experience was gained.
After the 2020 election, it was decided to broaden ESFE’s focus and undertakings, and Elders for Sound Democracy (ESD) was born. In 2021, ESD efforts grew into three distinct area of interest and action: Voting Rights and Representation, Civic Values and Culture, and Money Corrupting Politics. The voting rights committee focused on supporting the Federal government’s Freedom to Vote bill and the John Lewis Voting Rights bill. Due to partisan politics, however, both bills have yet to be passed.
Suppression of voting rights is gaining strength in the 2022 election cycle, with conservative state legislatures across the nation passing laws intended to restrict voting access within minorities, youth, and in urban areas. Thus, the ESD Voting Rights team is responding by again forming state voting rights teams, building on experience gained in 2020 to create a strong 2022 campaign.
Eight state teams are currently being formed to work in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. These are considered “battleground” states, where voting outcomes are historically close (and every vote counts) or they are states where voter suppression is more severe. Nevada and North Carolina will be added if bandwidth permits. State teams are supported by two national committees – Research & Education and Communications – and actions are virtual, making it possible for anyone to participate from anywhere.
At this time, the state teams are researching and collecting information on the following:
- State/County voter suppression laws
- In-state organizations that support voting rights and are seeking collaborators
- Student affairs directors at the state’s colleges
- Contacts at senior centers, assisted living facilities, and retirement communities
- Progressive faith congregations
- Minority-community voter suppression
Each state team will use these data to determine where the unserved niches are and where ESD can be of service in assuring the right to voting. ESD often adds volunteer power to existing anti-voter-suppression organizations.
How You Can Participate
If working with a state team captures your interest, Click Here to sign up for the state of your choice. If you have Communications or Research & Education skills, please contact Michele Copoly to get connected to one of these very important support teams.