Making Our Votes Count (With Sherrilyn Ifill)

Show Description

Baratunde speaks with Sherrilyn Ifill, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund about the very long history of voter suppression, why it still exists (hint: white supremacy and racism), and the current tactics being deployed for the 2020 election.

Show Notes & Actions

Show Transcript

Baratunde Thurston  0:05  

Welcome to How to Citizen with Baratunde a show where we reclaim the word citizen and use it as a verb and learn how to wield our collective power. I'm Baratunde.

In this episode, we are continuing our focus on voting, that super expression of people power. And we've been talking to folks who are on the front lines of this issue in many different ways. And in this episode, we're talking to someone who's been a long time warrior on behalf of people power. She has the job that Thurgood Marshall used to have. That's how dope and committed she is. Her name Sherrilyn Ifill her job, President and Director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, I had the opportunity to virtually join and meet Sherrilyn Ifill during a voting event A few weeks ago. And when I tell you I would do anything she says, I mean, if Sherrilyn Ifill says double check your voter registration. Um, triple check it actually, if Sherrilyn Ifill says, Be patient, on election day and beyond to wait for these results, I'm going to be the most patient, most zen, most calm person you can even imagine. And if Sherrilyn Ifill asked me to take out her garbage, I will do that I will be at your place. Sherrilyn, I will do this. Because I assume it is for the benefit of the many. It is for the people. And I know I'm right, because I'm right about you. In this conversation, yo Sherrilyn breaks it down. She says we need to operate at our highest levels of citizenship during this election. I love that phrase. She reminds us of the history of efforts to deny and suppress black people's votes, but also the history of overcoming those efforts. Here's Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director Council, which I might add is a very, very dope job title.

Sherrilyn Ifill  2:13  

Hello, Hey, how you

Baratunde Thurston  2:16  

doing? I am fired up. I'm ready to go. I'm tired. I am eager. I'm impatient. All those things? How are you? Also angry also? Yeah,

Sherrilyn Ifill  2:28  

yeah, um, you know, angry, I have my moments of disappointment. But you know, mostly, it's just you just have to keep fighting

Baratunde Thurston  2:34  

sherlyn you're at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, this historic institution been around since 1940. Fighting on behalf of human rights, black rights, voting rights. How has the history the legacy of black voter suppression in the US evolved to what it looks like now? You know, how is now different from that?

Sherrilyn Ifill  2:56  

It's a bit of a loopback. But yeah, I mean, it's interesting, because I think people now are talking about voter suppression, as though almost it's a new thing. Like people get that there was the Edmund Pettus Bridge, there was the Voting Rights Act. And then there was voter suppression, you know, in 2014, and in 15, and 16, you know, but that's actually not how it works. As a matter of fact, my first stint at the Legal Defense Fund was when I was a year out of law school after I finished a fellowship at the ACLU, I joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and litigated voting rights cases for five years. That was in 1988. So we've been at this for a very, very long time. You know, Thurgood Marshall's first huge Supreme Court when was in 1944, it was a case called Smith versus All right, in which the Supreme Court struck down the use of the all white primary election in the south, that was Thurgood Marshall's case. And really, his first big Supreme Court wins, that's 1944. We were founded in 1940. So that's four years after the organization was created. And I say all of that, because I think people have truncated the arc of voter suppression and don't fully understand that the effort to keep black people from participating fully in the political process has been around forever, and Mark most of the 20th century, and now has come back with intensity in the 21st century. And the intensity was created really by the Supreme Court's decision in June of 2013 in Shelby County versus holder, and that basically eliminated a key portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that had been really effective in getting out ahead of voter suppression tactics. And the elimination of that particular section kind of opened up this new explosion of voter suppression and even worse, allowed it to metastasize beyond kind of a regional problem in the south into kind of every corner of the country.

Baratunde Thurston  4:51  

And when you say voter suppression you know, I have images of a variety of tools and techniques include You know, removing polling sites to just drag out the line. So people bail on the process or to impose confusing instructions or to sue. Even there's there's legal battles on the other side of this. What is the map of voter suppression techniques look like in 20?

Sherrilyn Ifill  5:19  

Well, I think you've named some of them voter purges something that has really come back into vogue as well. Since 2013. You talked about moving polling places, closing polling places, consolidating polling places, actions that were taken even this week by the Texas Governor, restricting the number of drop off boxes for absentee ballots to one per County, this is a decision he made with a stroke of a pen, just one person deciding that now there will only be one drop box for absentee votes per County, that could never have happened under preclearance prior to 2013, he would have had to submit his desire to make that change to a federal authority to the attorney general or to the DC District Court to get approval. And when he submitted it, the Department of Justice would have heard from organizations like the legal defense fund and other civil rights organizations from local African American and Latino groups, describing the effect of the change on them, and most likely would have denied preclearance and prevented the governor from imposing that new restriction without a lawsuit ever having been filed. So the landscape is not only the actual mechanisms of suppression, but the way in which they are allowed to go forward. And we're running behind them right filing cases, but they're already in place. And so it's the full gamut that you talked about. It's voter intimidation. You know, it is terrible voter ID laws that are targeted at African American and Latino voters. You know, it's the full gamut. And it's an actual disgrace, to see the kind of active creativity that goes into trying to keep citizens of this country from voting.

Baratunde Thurston  7:02  

This will sound naive, but I mean it sincerely on behalf of myself and any listener, why do you think people in a democracy with these authorities would work so hard to make it so hard to vote?

Sherrilyn Ifill  7:22  

Our power and white supremacy. And I say that intentionally. I say those words very intentionally, because, you know, in 2014 2015, when I used to talk about white supremacy in the context of voting, in fact, at that point, we were challenging Texas voter ID law, that was the most restrictive voter ID law in the country, it was passed, right after the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County versus holder, the state kind of resuscitated a voter ID law that they hadn't been able to get pre cleared, and it was this law. And this law was regarded as the most restrictive because it really was pretty explicit and shutting down the kinds of government issued ID that you needed to use to be able to vote. And so identification forms that blacks and Latinos might be more likely to have or Native Americans might be more likely to have. We're now disallowed, but you could use a concealed gun carry permit as your ID to vote. So we litigated the case along with a number of other groups and the federal court found that the law was passed with the intention of discriminating against black and Latino voters. The same thing was found in North Carolina Omnibus voter suppression bill, federal court finds that the North Carolina legislature with surgical precision, that's the words of the court with surgical precision, identify the provisions that would be likely to suppress the black vote, voter ID law in Wisconsin same found to be intentionally discriminatory. So what I was saying then, in 2014, and 2015, was that this was white supremacy, right? You know, when legislators meet, and decide they want to keep some of their own citizens, black and brown citizens from voting, and that they create provisions intentionally designed to suppress those votes, that in itself is white supremacy. And people would clutch their pearls when I would say this. We didn't start talking again about white supremacy until Charlottesville, because people think of white supremacy as being Nazi flags, marching torches, you know, terrible slogans. And all of that is true, that is a part of white supremacy. But there is also a more genteel form of white supremacy. And that is when elected legislators dressed for work in their suits and dresses and marched into the statehouse, meet and convene, and pass laws designed to keep their fellow citizens from voting based on race. So what is the reason white supremacy, the desire to hold on to power and it's ugly, it's ugly to say it, it's ugly for it to be the truth, but it is the truth. And again, it's the truth, not the Kushiro unipol says it's the truth. It's a truth because a federal court in Texas said it, because the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said it about North Carolina, because federal court in Wisconsin said it. And so we have to confront that and be honest about

Baratunde Thurston  10:23  

your organization operates in a number of states. And I imagine you see things happening on the ground that we might not get a view of if we're paying attention to national media or in our particular state, depending on where they are. What are you seeing, if anything, with regards to misinformation and disinformation targeting the black community right now?

Sherrilyn Ifill  10:43  

Well, I would say the biggest disinformation campaign, sadly, has been conducted by the President of the United States around absentee voting. And we saw this in the beginning of the summer. It became important this year because of the covid 19 pandemic, we filed suits in a number of states, we work mostly in the south, I think people forget that a majority of black people still live in the South 52% of black people live in the south. And it's also the place obviously, where some of the most intransigent suppression efforts and forms of white supremacy exists, although certainly around the country, and we do work outside the south as well. But in any case, we began filing suit, particularly in the south, because of the covid 19 pandemic. And because of our recognition, that black and brown communities were being hit incredibly hard and are hit incredibly hard with COVID-19 infection and death. And I was particularly moved after the primary election in Wisconsin, which you may recall, you know, there was a case that went to the Supreme Court Supreme Court decided not to, to hear it to not disturb the fact that the circuit court had put a stay on a decision by the district court, that there would be more time to return absentee ballots, it was a very modest District Court decision. But the Supreme Court basically just ignored the reality on the ground that this was going to mean that people had to come out and risk their lives. And the very week that the Supreme Court decided not to disturb the decision that stayed the district court's expansion of early voting was the same week that we learned that although you know, the black population of Milwaukee is 28%, black people constituted 70% of COVID deaths in Milwaukee. So it was a week when it was very starkly clear the toll that COVID was taking on our community. And as you may recall, there were there are these amazing pictures of the lines of voters of people wearing masks. And I was torn between my absolute outrage and fury, that people had to risk their lives to vote and also my sense of just admiration and respect and humility, that black voters would determine to participate in the political process and came out to vote with their masks on standing in line for hours. But we said about them filing these cases trying to expand absentee voter opportunities. In the south, we were attacking in particular really onerous requirements like an Alabama to file an absentee vote, you had to get the signature of two third party witnesses, plus have a copy of your government issued photo ID sent in with the ballot. So you have to interact with three other people, two people besides ballot and somebody to get this copy. The Secretary of State of Alabama said, well, they should just go to Kinko's. So here it is. We have elderly black people. Have you seen their grandkids, right? Because they're suffering from COVID. So we filed two. And actually just two weeks ago, we won in the trial court. We'll see what happens with the appeal. But we won in the trial court relaxing those requirements. But almost immediately, at the beginning of the summer, the president knighted states started tweeting this crazy misinformation about absentee voting, that absentee voting is fraudulent, that it's illegal, that it's a plot of the Democrats, which is it's actually ironic because republicans mostly in the past, but the voters who used absentee voting, in fact, the black population, for the most part had issued absentee voting because black people actually like to vote in person. You know, we have souls to the polls for early voting that churches take up. It's part of our kind of civic culture. It calls to mind our history. I admit even I really like to stand in line and and vote. And so black people had not actually been big absentee vote casters, but with COVID-19, we thought it was important that we ensure that this Avenue was open, particularly for our elderly voters. And suddenly we got this crazy misinformation coming from the president with and non stop, he hasn't stopped filing suit in Pennsylvania against the use of drop boxes, and regularly giving people a lack of confidence in absentee voting. And this was all happening at the same time that quite Suddenly, the United States Postal Service was under attack from the new Postmaster General. And we were seeing all these delays in mail and we also have a suit by the way against United States Postal Service. So all of this was happening at the same time. I think the effect has been what you see actually this week because we're already in the general election. There is early voting happening all over the place. You may have seen the in credible lines in Ohio of people just standing in line to participate. We saw in Illinois, we saw Minnesota we start in Virginia, the first day of early voting. People want to vote and they want to vote in person. People are also sending in their absentee ballots. There's a record number of absentee ballots that have been cast already for this general election. But fighting through that misinformation about, you know, absentee voting as a legitimate, legal, safe form of voting has been really a challenge this summer.

Baratunde Thurston  15:26  

Yeah, I don't know how to keep up the energy, I'm exhausted. And I pay attention to this stuff. On the flip side, you know, what is restoring or bolstering your confidence that people will exercise their constitutional rights? And what are you most excited about in terms of your own organization's work? To boost that confidence?

Sherrilyn Ifill  15:48  

You know, it's a crazy thing, you end up in the most difficult time periods. And if you're a civil rights lawyer, you know, you're so often talking about issues that people are ignoring, or pretending or not there. And then suddenly, everybody's talking about the very end, they see it right. You know, scales have fallen from Americans eyes, and people can see it. So there is an excitement about that, that people, I don't have to explain to people what voter suppression is, when I say it, people know exactly what I'm talking about. Right. So that wasn't always true. So that's exciting. Seeing people really do what we we have a campaign and we've had this campaign for years called prepared to vote. So every year because of course, elections happen not every four years, but every year, we launch a campaign called prepared to vote we do on the ground election protection work. But we're always providing information before the election so people can be prepared because we really believe that, you know, voting is not something you just wake up, you know, the morning of election day and say, Okay, I'm going to vote today, but you actually have to get yourself ready and this year more than any other because if you're gonna vote in person, you need PP, if you're gonna vote absentee, you need to apply for the ballot and so forth. So seeing people do that seeing people prepare to vote has been amazing. We partnered with LeBron James on his more than a vote initiative to try to get new poll workers because once again, COVID-19 has meant that poll workers who are mostly elderly, most of our poll workers are senior citizens, a quarter of them are over age 70. co workers are the nice people we see sitting at the table when we come in, they they check us in, they make a sign they give us, you know, polling machine to go to they give us the sticker that says I voted, and but they're mostly elderly. And because of the pandemic, we wanted to make sure that we were protecting our seniors. And so we really have been putting out a call to encourage young people to become co workers. And so we joined with LeBron James is more than a vote campaign to do that. We started it three weeks ago, and we've already signed up 25,000 new poll workers 25,000. So to see people responding to the call, especially young people responding to the call to work, the polls, you know, I've been saying this is a time when we need to be at our highest level of citizenship. And I feel like that's what I'm seeing. The other thing is one of the, you know, things I've been talking about for a very long time is the failure to pay attention to local elections. So most of us go into the voting booth, we vote for the president, or the senator or the governor, the mayor, you know, whatever are the high salient selections. And then if we look at ballots, when we get information back after the election, what we find is what we call drop off, which means people vote for those top races, then they get to the DA race, they don't vote, then it says pick three judges, no votes cast, then it's the sheriff election, people don't vote, so that we have that or we have people who vote in those elections, but they actually don't know anything about those candidates, right. So they know a lot about who they want to vote for, for president maybe who they want to vote for for governor or senator. But they actually don't know about the person who's running for Sheriff when in fact, the sheriff is the person who's going to make a decision about whether they form a relationship with ice and engage in immigration activities is the person who evict people, and we're looking at potentially millions of evictions over the next few months if we don't get some serious covid relief happening. So people forget about those elections. People want criminal justice reform, but they're not informed about who their district attorney candidates are and what they stand for. And so we've been really pushing this issue of local elections. And I would say this year is feels like the breakthrough year, when I hear people talking about local elections in ways that I have never heard it before. I still say people should pay attention to the railroad commissioners in Texas. I haven't heard people talking about that yet. But they should. That is that is a very important regulatory agency. And they run every six years. But I have heard people talking about school boards and I have heard people talking about, you know, the City Council and I have heard people talking about the DA raises, and that's very encouraging as well.

Baratunde Thurston  19:42  

What are your calls to action? To someone listening to this right now? How can they help ensure we have an actual free and fair election?

Sherrilyn Ifill  19:51  

Well, the first thing is to be informed when we are in this like sea of misinformation. So we have the misinformation coming from the President about absentee voting. There's misinformation on Facebook. Book. We don't know what the Russians are doing. But we know that they are huge threat. And we know that they targeted African American voters on Facebook more than any other group in the 2016 election. And so we have to presume that that is happening right now. So the first thing is to get good information and rely on good sources of information. We have a terrific microsite voting dot,,, which is a kind of a one stop shop, and you can get all your information there. So please stop passing bad information, something you just heard, that somebody just sent you that you haven't actually ensured is accurate, because our community really, really needs to be informed. So that's number one. Number two, prepare to vote is real, you have to make a plan to vote. So if you are going to vote absentee, you need to request that ballot, you need to look to figure out what the rules are in your jurisdiction for returning the ballot. What do you need to do? What do you need to have in it? Who can bring it back? If you decide you want to bring it back personally to the board of elections? How does that work? I've heard people saying things like, I'm gonna go around and help people get their absentee ballots. But please don't help, please, please check the law in your state, because it may be illegal, right? states have different rules. And Louisiana can only be a family member. In some places, the voter has to actually by writing designate who can return the ballot. So we don't want people making mistakes, because we don't want balance not counted. And we don't want people prosecuted for voter fraud on the other end of this election. So that's important. Also, the prepare to vote also means like preparing, like actually looking at the sample ballot for your jurisdiction. One of the things that contributes to long lines is when you go into the voting booth, and that's the first time you're reading the ballot initiative that's on the ballot, or you're reading the bond issue where they want to raise money for the library or the constitutional amendment. And so you're in there for 15 minutes slow reading this constitutional amendment for the first time. No, sir. No, ma'am. I need you to download that ballot, that sample ballot a week before two weeks before and educate yourself about what it is so that you know, when you're going into the voting booth, who you're going to vote for, what issues you're going to go vote for and against, and you're not learning while you know, people are standing behind you hundreds deep, waiting to get into the voting booth. And also because of the pandemic, do you really want to spend a whole lot of time in the polling place? Do you want to spend a lot of time in the in the voting booth? No, you don't make sure you have PP, we put out a challenge to black churches to make sure that there should be no black voter standing in line who was saying I don't have a mask. I don't have gloves. We have black churches on every block. I guess it's virtual at this point. But that doesn't mean that they can't help with PP, and we've been happy to see churches taking up the charts. So preparing to vote having PP if you're going to vote in person, either early or on Election Day, bring your bottle of water with you. If you feel like you need to bring a chair, bring a chair, but be prepared to stand in line. Because we're going to see turnout levels like I think we've never seen before. There is so much interest in this election across the board. So you should be prepared to wait. And if you're voting absentee, you should be on it already to make sure that your ballot can get in in time. The last thing I want to say is we have real concerns about voter intimidation. And they are real. Under normal circumstances, the recourse would be the Department of Justice. This particular department of justice, led by Attorney General bill Barr, I do not believe will be responsive. What does voter intimidation look like? What is your

Baratunde Thurston  23:22  

concern? And how does it manifest?

Sherrilyn Ifill  23:24  

Yeah, it can look like a lot of things. It can look like people who are challenging voters. And you may have seen that this is the first time in 30 years that the republicans have been released from a consent decree that they were bound by because of voter intimidation activities they engaged in, in some elections in New Jersey in the 1980s, where they had people come out who looked like they were law enforcement, walking around the polls and frightening people, frankly. So they were under court ordered to cease and desist. And that consent decree was just lifted this year. So it's the first time in 30 years that that consent decree does not cover that conduct. Immediately, the the RNC announced that they were trying to recruit 50,000 people to be outside the polls to question people about their status about whether in fact, they are eligible voters. It's a way of intimidating the immigrant community. So there's that they're the people who approach people and ask them about their status. Then there are people who are dressed as law enforcement or dressed as malicious in open carry states who are carrying weapons and who are outside polling places. Now there's a rule that you got to be 100 feet away. But think about the long lines that we're going to see. Right, they're going to be lines extending past 100 feet. So the possibility of those kinds of individuals being close up on people waiting in line to vote is very real. trucks that people carrying Confederate flags is another one that we see fairly often. So we expect all these forms of voter intimidation to be in effect, and as I said, normally what we would do is we would patch right into the Department of Justice to the US Attorney in that jurisdiction and expect some action To be taken this year, we really need voters to get in touch with us. And there's a civil rights election protection hotline, it's 1866, our vote 1866, our vote, oh, you our vote. And we need people in real time when you see something, say something we need you to call in, we need you to reach out to the Legal Defense Fund, tell us what you're seeing. So that we can get activated and get local attorney general's and others activated to deal with the issue of voter intimidation, that's going to be really, really important. And I will tell you that. I'm also concerned about intimidation after the election of people counting ballots. And so we're going to be just vigilant through this entire process. And we need everyone to be patient, we've asked a lot of people to vote absentee. That means their votes should be counted, those votes are not counted on Election Day, they're not counted on election night, they will be counted on that subsequent week. And we want those votes to be counted. And that means we have to be patient. You know, I said the other night that you know, decision 2020 is not in the Constitution. That's a television show that was created, you know, to gin up excitement about election night, we don't have to know that night, we need the votes to be counted. So I want to make sure that our community is patient, there will be a lot of noise of people trying to suggest that something is wrong, because we don't know who the winner is on election night. Because all the votes haven't been counted on election night. They're never all counted on election night, we count military ballots, the week following the election, we count provisional ballots the week following the election. So I need everybody to just be very calm, be very, very patient, and really operate at their highest level of citizenship.

Baratunde Thurston  26:41  

That's the closing question. citizenship, this show believes that the word citizen should be interpreted not as a legal status, no offense to the lawyer in you, but as a verb, as a set of actions. And if you are to interpret the word citizen as a set of actions as a verb, how do you define what it means to citizen

Sherrilyn Ifill  26:59  

to citizen means that you figure out some part of your day every day that contributes to the democracy that you want to see. And I think this is what we have seen the last few years in this country. I think people thought that democracy was some kind of instant pop up thing that came in a box, and then you're a democracy, and then it's over. And now you're a democracy forever. Now we understand the fragility of democracy. It requires active citizenship. It requires people who wake up and believe that they should inform themselves with the best information. It's people who have the number of their senator in their phone, so that when you want the Senate to act on something, when you want the Senate to act on a coronavirus relief bill, when you want the senate not to push forward a Supreme Court nominee during the presidential general election, you can call that office right away, and you're not looking around for that number. We want people who are in constant contact with their elected officials. If you never showed up at a school board meeting, ask yourself why if you never showed up at a city council meeting, why didn't you ever look at the people that you voted for? Why didn't you ever make them see you so that they could feel accountable if you did vote for in the last judicial election, and it said, pick three, and you just pick three people because you like their name, or because they had a D or an R next to their name, or because they were a woman or a man, that is not responsible citizenship, you need to be educating yourselves about who these people are, who are going to make decisions about your child when they get arrested, who are going to make decisions about the laws that govern you. And so I'm really suggesting that this moment calls on us to frame and see and define citizenship differently than I think many people have. as you point out, it is not just your legal status. It's not because you have a blue passport. It is a responsibility, and it's what are you required to do as a citizen in a democracy, it is work. It is not that you sit back on your laurels and enjoy your status. It is that you work every day for this democracy for bringing greater equality, greater justice, and a vision of a democracy that looks like what I think we want our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren to be a part of.

Baratunde Thurston  29:11  

Sherrilyn Ifill. Sherrilyn. Director, Counselor, Madam President, thank you so much for this time.

Sherrilyn Ifill  29:18  

Thank you. Thank you for your voice. Thank you for this show. And let's just keep fighting.

Baratunde Thurston  29:23  

Let's keep fighting.

We are so grateful to Sherrilyn Ifill for spending time with us and reminding us that citizenship is a responsibility. We got to put in work. Follow the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on all the social medias there at NAACP underscore LDF on Twitter and on Instagram, search for them on Facebook or visit their website, Find this episode of transcripts, show notes and more goodies and And speaking of goodies, why don't you give us that good old thumbs up with a positive rating or review, wherever you see the show, and tell somebody else about it if you're enjoying what we're doing here, here's what we're asking you to do to align with this episode in terms of actions. Internally, we want you to become a bit more educated on the systems of oppression that we live in in the United States so that you know the routes better and how to fight them better. We went so far as to set up a whole online bookshop that actually supports local booksellers in the process, you can find it at Here are two titles on the shelf that we're setting up for you "Stamped From the Beginning" by Ibrim X. Kendi, a powerful history of race, racism, white supremacy in the United States, and crusade for justice, "The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells", she is someone we all need to know so much more about. So I am proud to recommend her to you because I'm pretty sure you didn't get that on your how to be woke in the summer of 2020 reading lists. Since we spend so much time talking about the Voting Rights Act, I suggest you actually read the Voting Rights Act, the original one. And once you do that, read an analysis from 2018 was written in the Atlantic by Vann Newkirk, we'll drop the link in the show notes. But if you one of those people that likes to independently discover stuff, find it and understand why that Shelby vs holder decision that Sherrilyn and I will reference was so important and so devastating and why we need to restore something like or better than the Voting Rights Act. And finally, visit this website, This is the organization that LeBron has set up to help people claim their voting rights. And he's a three time champion. So do what the champ says he's done it well as organizations done it well. And they've partnered with many groups like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and they have a really beautiful tool where you plug in your address, and they show you all the different ways you can vote. Now, externally, this involves stuff more public out in the world, interacting with other people, here's what we get. First, find out the exact requirements of mailman or absentee ballots in your state, and share them so that every vote is counted. There are a lot of different rules. And I want you to figure that out for where you are, and tell somebody and speaking to telling somebody, I want to make you a team captain a LeBron, if you will. I want to make you a LeBron for democracy. Why don't you become a democracy team captain, and take the lead and making sure that at least three people you know, vote, whether you can vote or not, you probably know three people who can so take responsibility for them, hound them, harass them, support them lovingly, often, until they vote. And a couple ways you can do that you can share resources so that they understand what all their voting options are send them to more than a vote or vote save America or number of sources that we have outlined in the show notes and on the website. If they need a witness to sign their ballot envelope, offer to be that person offered to be the person to take the ballot and drop it off for them if they can't easily or safely leave their home. Be a team captain for democracy. Finally, support the polls themselves. We have asked previously to become a poll worker by signing up at But this time, we know Election Day is likely to have some very long lines, election days, I should say. And so you can support the people in those lines, bring them water, bring a masks, gloves, umbrellas, if you're an entertainer, do some entertaining. We know that there are people who are going to show up to these polls, trying to intimidate and frightened people show up to do the opposite. Show up to support people living into their highest levels of citizenship. Show up with love in a pro democracy small d act of citizenship. If you take any of these actions, share them with us email us at mention voting in the subject line. brag about your citizening with the hashtag how to citizen on your social media platform of choice, and send us any comments you have or suggestions to comments at how to How to Citizen with Baratunde, production of IHeartRadio Podcast executive produced by Myles Gray, Nick Stump, Elizabeth Stewart. Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith powered by you


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