Retake is developing a series of strategies designed to help Retake readers play a very significant role in the NM and the US election and today we launch Phase One, an easy to implement 4-step strategy each of you can complete in an hour. Let’s Do This!
Lately, Retake has been reporting on the varied strategies employed by Trump and his henchmen to steal the election. Today we share some new details on the insidious nature of an effort to completely undermine the capacity of the US Postal Service to function, not coincidentally as the nation approaches an election where mail in ballots will be of great importance and must be processed efficiently.
We won’t dwell on this, as I doubt there are many of you out there who need to be convinced of just how craven and desperate this man is. So we will touch briefly on this before moving to excerpts from a NY Times piece that offers real hope that election activism can reverse course, even in countries being governed by conservative parties. And then we will introduce you to a remarkable strategy given to us by James Stewart (not the deceased actor, but a Retake reader of the same name). It is brilliant in its simplicity, ease of implementation and potential impact. Read on! And then take action!
USPS Inspector General Begins Removing Sorting Machines
There is no other way to understand what is intended here. As reported in Common Dreams and many other outlets, sorting machines, critical to the efficient processing of mail, are being removed under orders from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump, and as corrupt a human being as you could find.
You don’t need much more evidence to conclude that all gloves are off and that Trump will do ANYTHING to retain power. The President of the Iowa state Postal Workers Union, Kimberly Karol reports in Common Dreams:
“Equipment that we use to process mail for delivery”—including sorting machines—is being removed from Postal Service facilities in Iowa as DeJoy rushes ahead with policies that, according to critics, are sabotaging the Postal Service’s day-to-day operations less than 90 days before an election that could hinge on mail-in ballots.From Common Dreams: “‘A Conspiracy to Steal the Election, Folks’: Alarms Sound After Postal Worker Reports Removal of Sorting Machines“
Karol goes on to describe how the removal of sorting equipment and other policies being implemented by Dejoy are undermining the culture and purpose of the USPS:
“I grew up in a culture of service, where every piece was to be delivered every day. And his policies, although they’ve only been in place for a few weeks, are now affecting the way that we do business and not allowing us to deliver every piece every day, as we’ve done in the past,” said Karol. “I don’t see this as cost-saving measures. I see this as a way to undermine the public confidence in the mail service. It’s not saving costs. We’re spending more time trying to implement these policy changes. And it’s, in our offices, costing more over time.”From Common Dreams: “‘A Conspiracy to Steal the Election, Folks’: Alarms Sound After Postal Worker Reports Removal of Sorting Machines“
And it isn’t requiring much by way of investigative journalism to identify what is going on.
“It’s a conspiracy to steal the election, folks,” tweeted The Week‘s political columnist Ryan Cooper.
Freelance journalist Erin Biba said there’s “absolutely no way to see” the removal of mail sorting machines from Post Offices as anything other than “sabotage” of the most popular government institution in the U.S. “It’s so blatant,” added Biba.From Common Dreams: “‘A Conspiracy to Steal the Election, Folks’: Alarms Sound After Postal Worker Reports Removal of Sorting Machines“
In addition to the removal of sorting machines, Dejoy is implementing a hiring freeze and prohibiting overtime. The backlog in mail is just beginning and will only get worse. As a result, Retake has developed a strategy to GET OUT THE VOTE and to encourage early, mail-in voting. It isn’t enough to just mail-in our votes. To ease a handcuffed USPS, we need to vote as early as is legal so states don’t experience a huge surge of ballots coming in the last days before election day.
And just to offer motivation and inspiration, a few excerpts on just how effective electoral reform can be, in France, in Spain, in England and here in NM and other US states.
Signs of Radical Change On Both Sides of Atlantic
Last week, we included a link to a NY Times opinion piece “It’s a Tough Time for the Left. But I’m More Optimistic Than Ever” in our News In Brief, but today we want to focus on it a bit more completely, as it provides solid evidence that radical change is afoot and that election activism can play a central role in accelerating that change. In her NY TImes opinion piece Thea Riofrancos describes how on both sides of the Atlantic radical change is evident.
“Crisis and discontent are two necessary ingredients for radical change. But on their own, they aren’t sufficient. In the United States and almost all of Europe, the left — socialists, labor organizers, activists and agitators traditionally outside the major center-left parties — is out of power and wounded by electoral defeat. (Spain and Portugal, where formally and informally center-left parties currently govern together with the radical left, are the exception that proves the rule.)NY Times: “It’s a Tough Time for the Left. But I’m More Optimistic Than Ever: On both sides of the Atlantic, the signs of radical possibility are everywhere,”
I’ve heard many a leftist activist assert that spending energy on elections is a waste of time. I’m not sure how anyone can feel that way when we are threatened by four more years of a Trump regime, but as evidence of how election work can lead to change in even the most conservative countries, Riofrancos reports:
On the left, “electoralism” — pursuing public office through elections — is a hotly debated tactic. Some see the activity as fatally compromised. But contesting elections is essential to winning radical reforms that change the consensus on what is possible and build power.
Take Paris and Barcelona. In the early 2010s, neither city, sitting in countries governed by the center and the right, seemed a likely venue for a resurgence of left-wing politics. But in the course of two years, each was led by leftist mayors — first Anne Hidalgo in Paris in 2014, then Ada Colau in Barcelona the next year. They built new public housing, banned polluting cars from city streets and expanded urban green spaces, becoming the heads of the “radical municipalism” movement.”NY Times: “It’s a Tough Time for the Left. But I’m More Optimistic Than Ever: On both sides of the Atlantic, the signs of radical possibility are everywhere,”
And there are many more examples outlined in the Times opinion piece. Riofrancos describes how the small city of Preston has been able to carve out ultra progressive policies in the northwest of Brexit England.
I’ve been reading about Preston for some time and will be reporting on it more in a post coming soon as it illustrates how an effective local progressive movement can generate important progressive policies despite national policy and leadership opposing such work.
“The left-led City Council has transformed the city into a laboratory for innovative policies, from supporting worker cooperatives to contracting local farmers to provide produce for public school meals. The experience proved so successful it earned its own name: The Preston Model.”NY Times: “It’s a Tough Time for the Left. But I’m More Optimistic Than Ever: On both sides of the Atlantic, the signs of radical possibility are everywhere,”
But what I found most interesting in Riofrancos’ analysis is that she also highlights the importance of street advocacy and election activism when a nation is in the grips of reactionary leadership. That would be us. She points to how in France, President Macron tried to push back the legal retirement age and was met with immediate and fierce opposition in the streets of Paris and throughout France that essentially shut down the nation. Macron backed down.
Riofrancos shifts gears and looks at recent street activism in the US, describing the importance of organizing and the formation of coalitions and alliances among grassroots groups. Importantly, this is work outside the mainstream political parties.
“In Minneapolis, the groundwork for the current protests was laid by groups such as the Black Visions Collective. In 2018, they worked in alliance with Reclaim the Block to win cuts to the city police budget and funding for violence prevention. Organizations like these recruit activists and teach them the skills they need to plan a meeting or a direct action, all while cultivating the trust and accountability that are vital to movements’ long-term success.”NY Times: “It’s a Tough Time for the Left. But I’m More Optimistic Than Ever: On both sides of the Atlantic, the signs of radical possibility are everywhere,”
Riofrancos goes on to point out how effective grassroots coalitions in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, Tennessee and even bright red Missouri have led to impressive election wins. I would add to that list New Mexico, as since 2016 a coalition led by Working Families Party and Olé in aligned coalition with groups like Nasty Women, Taos United, Indivisible, Progressive Democrats of America, Adelanté and Retake Our Democracy have reshaped the state legislature and installed a Democrat Governor. Yes, there is more work to be done here in NM and likely in the states mentioned by Riofrancos, but the scale of wins in NM is beyond impressive.
In this context, Retake has been working for weeks to develop a range of strategies to impact not just the NM state election but the national election and today we announce a key element of that plan. Read on!
GET OUT THE VOTE IN FOUR SIMPLE STEPS
We had known we wanted to do something to engage and empower you in the national election, but how many times can you ask people to get in the game when they simply don’t want to make cold calls or sit and text all day.
Before we lay out the strategy, we want to make one thing clear. Retake has been at this for four years. Every moment of our work has been designed to make it easier for you to be informed and to take action whether it was advocacy at the Roundhouse, the PRC or in state elections. This is an existential moment and it is time for every last one of you to become active in this election. NOW. Especially since what we propose is so easy to do.
We have so much to lose, as every day of a Trump presidency makes clear. And we have so much to gain, as the NY Times piece above describes. And apparently, the Retake refrain encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones and engage in the election process has worked for some. Let me share one of many notes we’ve gotten of late:
“I have been doing some phone banking and text banking for the NM Coordinated Campaign; thank you for saying so often and so loudly that that kind of work can be enjoyable and rewarding. Having heard you say that so often helped me overcome my threshold resistance.”Michael Sperberg McQueen
Apparently repeating the refrain over and over can erode reluctance and result in people getting out of their comfort zones. Well, here is another opportunity and it doesn’t involve cold calls, texting or convincing anyone of the veracity of a policy, bill or candidate.
We wanted to identify a strategy that makes it VERY easy for you to be engaged in state and national elections, and just as important, for you to motivate others to take part in our very simple four-part strategy. The strategy is clearly predicated upon the old chain-letter that we all hated to receive. But this is not about sending $10 to the person at the top of the list and then sending the letter to ten others in hopes you finally get to the top and reap a big payoff. Our payoff will on Nov 3 and Jan 20. So, while no money is involved, the concept is the same and success depends on how many of you faithfully execute steps three and four.
You can accomplish the first two steps in five minutes. The third involves likely an hour but has immense potential for an exponential impact on the election, especially if this strategy is embraced by individuals in other states and if those folks embrace the strategy. The fourth step is for users of social media and requires just a few minutes. When done, you will have reached hundreds of people who will then each reach out to hundreds more, etc. And hopefully etc, etc, etc, etc. Here’s what we all need to do:
- VERIFY YOU ARE STILL REGISTERED TO VOTE: Millions of voters have been purged from the voter roles and don’t know it. So everyone should verify they are still registered. For New Mexicans, click here. For all those outside NM, click here to get to the national Secretary of State website, find your state, click, and confirm your registration.
- IF IT CAN BE DONE SAFELY, MAKE A PLAN TO USE EARLY VOTING TO VOTE IN PERSON & AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. If your state doesn’t allow early voting, vote by mail as early as possible. It isn’t as if many of you are undecided and need more time to mull your options. Get it done early and ease the pain for the US Postal Service. Each state will be different, so us the link below to find out what the schedule is and how you can vote early or by mail, and make a plan to do so. By voting in person & early, you KNOW your ballot will be counted the night of the election and you will reduces the burden on the postal service. Axios posted the guidelines for every state’s mail and early voting procedures. Click here. Once you’ve identified your state’s procedures, be sure to check in periodically, as those procedures are changing to respond to COVID. Another reason to vote early, in person, is that in most states counting mail-in ballots won’t begin until the day after the election. If a very high proportion of Democrat voters cast their ballots by mail, it would be very possible that Trump could be leading on the morning of Nov 4, and you can bet GOP rhetoric will be that he has won the legitimate vote and that the fake mail-in ballots are not legitimate. We need a landslide folks and we need it Nov 3. So vote in person and early if you can do so safely. Otherwise get your mail in ballot mailed as early as possible.
- TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. This is the most important step by far and takes just a bit more time. Start by combing through your personal email address book. Then send the note below (or one like it) to groups of ten friends at a time. Please don’t send it in one email to 50+ people or it could wind up in SPAM. James Stewart (not the deceased actor, but a local Retake supporter) gave us the idea for this strategy and kicked off his personal effort with emails to 150 friends. So think big.
- USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO SHARE THIS PAGE. Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform to post a link to this page. Add a personal message about how important it is to reach out to others to ensure that everyone votes in this election. Everyone. If everyone votes, we win. If you use FB, also “tag” up to 50 friends (that is the limit allowed) and ask everyone reading the post, to share it with their friends.
When you have completed steps 1-4, please return to this page and comment below, telling us very briefly what you did and how many folks you reached.
We’ve introduced strategies calling on people to reach out to others before and frankly we haven’t been overwhelmed by the response. There appears to be a kind of social norm that you don’t broach politics with friends, family and colleagues. But these are not normal times and we feel that it is a moral duty to transgress those norms at all costs.
So, click here to get to our Four Step strategy. The link takes you to a page that is designed for sharing and does not include extraneous news. Short to the point and the link is very easily shareable. Then you are on your own to follow the four steps outlined above, sending the link to dozens of friends and sharing it on social media.
Let’s Do This As If Our Lives Depend On It Because They Do
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Election, Political Reform & National Politics
A good proposal for getting people involved with one problem. I no longer trust the idea of mailing in ballots. Your post today points out the lengths with which Trump and his new Post Master General are willing to go to destroy the PO. We need a new strategy. I think early voting and mass support of voters on Election Day are necessary. Think of what Wisconsonites were willing to face this past spring. We need that kind of energy. The Democratic Party must provide that kind of support.
I ended up calling the Bernalillo county clerk and was told every registered voter in the county will be mailed an absentee ballot application on Sept 14. I didn’t see this information on the secretary of state website linked from this post, or on the bernco.gov/clerk page.
I like this idea though! It’s so simple it just might work!
I’m wondering of the person you talked to may have made an error; it’s my understanding that everyone is getting an application to vote by mail, but not an actual ballot, because of the court case that disallowed this.
Paul and Roxanne,
I called the County Clerk today regarding mail in ballots. The County cannot legally send out ballots until October 6th, 2020. And that’s just the possible start date. Say it takes 4 or 5 days to even get your mail. That leaves about 3 weeks for people to get their ballots, mark them and return them through a compromised USPS. The clerks office told me that they should not use USPS to return the ballots. They should hand deliver them to the Clerks office. The guy I talked to there said that I should tell everyone I know that this is how to do it.
That being said, what happens if you do not get your mail in ballot by say, November 1st? In that case the clerks office told me to go to y0ur polling place and sign an affidavit saying you never got your ballot. Then they will allow you to vote at your polling place.
I’m going to contact the actual county clerk, not one of the clerks there, to confirm the procedure. Because for example, what happens if you have to vote in person and they don’t have affidavit forms on hand? Will they be treated as provisional ballots? We all know what happens to those.
Please keep me posted on this. Quite obviously every state will have different policies and practices which makes this strategy more complicated in advocating in other states. Keep me posted, Richard.
I called Santa Fe County Clerk just now at 10:50 am. Spoke with Jacob. I wanted to confirm the dates and the procedure for voting absentee.
He says that Absentee Ballot APPLICATIONS will be going out on September 14. That’s APPLICATIONs, not ballots. The Ballots start to be sent out on October 6 through the 20th. If you do not get your ballot you can go to any of the 30 voting centers in Santa Fe County, (not including Pueblos at this point as that is still under consideration) and sign an affidavit stating you did not receive a ballot. I wanted to make sure they actually have these forms, that they well actually be at every center, but could not yet verify. Theoretically, It should take about 5 minutes for them to process an affidavit and then you are cleared to vote at that place.
If you do get an absentee ballot, one clerk told me it is highly recommended that you hand deliver it to locked boxes that are at every voting center. The locked boxes have attendants to help you.
I have left a long message with the deputy clerk, named Steve, to please understand that this situation with the Post Office is a huge crisis in the making and that it is really imperative that everyone knows that there is a procedure in place to ensure that all votes arrive back at the voting centers so that they are actually counted instead of languishing in a sabotaged & compromised post office. I am urging Geraldine Salazar and deputy Steve to mount some sort of information campaign to let the public know what is going on, that there is a crisis in the making and that we are on it.
I have called all NM congressmen regarding crisis in the post office. A few days ago more than 30 national supervisors were reassigned or moved abruptly. Now they are shutting down sorting machines, forbidding hiring and overtime and mail is being delayed at least a day and it is only August 13th.
It seems clear to me that the Trump administration is creating chaos in order to undermine the election process. This is no longer just about democracy. This is about one man essentially claiming to be God. It is about a group of individuals that support him who are gleefully breaking everything that works in America to impoverish, disorient, enslave, humiliate and force people to bow down, to beg for relief, to cower. It is about the ultimate insult, “Let them eat cake!”
Regardless of efforts by Senators and Representatives to bring forth new legislation and force this administration to spend money on assisting the Post Office, there is no certainty or even much hope that Senate Republicans under Mitch McConnell will even allow such a measure to be voted on.
The best advice I’ve heard is: VOTE EARLY. Don’t vote on election day, because it could be chaos, and don’t vote by mail unless you’re in a mail-only region, or unless you genuinely cannot for health reasons. For states that don’t use paper ballots you might want to vote by mail, too, and in that case send in your ballot as early as possible.
This is an all-out war against democracy, and we’re going to have to fight as smart as we can.
For the Primary Election, I got my absentee ballot in the mail early. Instead of mailing it in, I hand-delivered it at one of the early voting sites. Very simple. I think that is the best way to ensure that our ballots arrive in time – not to depend on the post office.
Thanks, Pelican. Several made this comment and I’ve changed the strategy to reflect that. thanks….hope all is well.
I wonder whether there is a regulation or law that would allow a county clerk to “deputize” citizens to act as couriers – picking up absentee ballots from the county clerk’s office, delivering them to voters, and then maybe even delivering the completed, *sealed* ballots back to the county clerk. ‘Cause I’d probably volunteer for that.
If this interests you, I’d suggest checking with the county clerk or the SOS office. Good idea.
I was wondering the same thing. Thanks for asking that question.
For what it’s worth, here are 4 ways you can vote without using the USPS. We’re going to vote early in person:
1. Vote early in person. Early voting allows voters to vote in person without waiting in crowded or long lines. Forty-one states have some form of early voting in place and may start as early as 45 days before Election Day. Many states also have weekend early voting options. Make sure to check with your local election office to see if they extended early voting due to the pandemic.
2. Use a ballot drop box. Many states and counties provide ballot drop boxes as a secure and convenient option for voters to return their sealed and signed mail ballot. Drop boxes skip the mail process entirely, allowing voters to drop off their mail ballots and have them be taken directly to county offices. Boxes are placed in many convenient locations such as outside community centers, near public transit routes or on college campuses. Check with your local election office to see if there are ballot drop boxes in your community.
3. Drop off your ballot at an election office or polling location. Almost all states permit voters to return a delivered ballot in person at their local election office, but not everyone lives close to their election office. That is why many states allow voters to drop off their signed and sealed ballots at any in-person voting location in the county. Check with your local election office to see if you can drop off your ballot at a polling location closer to your home.
4. Organize community ballot collection. Many states allow designated organizations, election officials or family members to collect a voter’s signed and sealed ballot and submit the ballot on behalf of the voter. This option is vital for high-risk voters who are unable to leave their home to cast a ballot. Check who can collect your ballot in your state.
I cannot believe that people are still being encouraged to vote by mail, given the circumstances. There is every chance that voting by mail will mean your vote WILL NOT get counted. Please do not continue to recommend this. Instead, please refer to the 4 steps to avoid using the USPS this year. Best wishes, Linda
There are nine states that do not allow early voting and so mail voting or day off, in person are the only option. Our plan’s emphasis is to have people make a specific plan for voting that is accord with state regulations.