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Week #5 Get Out the Vote/Protect the Vote Toolkit


No Room 4 Racism Action Toolkit
Dear Friends,Thanks to everyone who participated in the the No Room 4 Racism campaign so far this month. The response continues to be fantastic!  Over 50 organizations and individuals have signed up to be part of the campaign.  If you haven't signed up yet please do by clicking here.Check out our Facebook page showingupforracialjustice for all the pictures and messages people posted about what they think about stopping the school to prison pipeline and equity in education.   Follow us on twitter using the hashtag #noroomforracism  or at @showup4rj for the messages that people sent about the campaign.

Since issues of racial justice have been under-reported by the press and left undiscussed by candidates during this electoral cycle, we are making sure to foreground racial justice in our communities.

Join us! Take action for racial justice with this weeks toolkit on Getting Out and Protecting the Vote.

Toolkit available below, or by clicking here:

Dara, JLove, Jimmy, Z!, Cynthia and the rest of the SURJ Action Team

Week #5 Get Out the Vote/Protect the Vote Toolkit

No Room 4 Racism

Issue at hand: Getting out & protecting the vote. All the work we’ve done to elevate issues of racial justice in the election conversation, all the organizing that has gone into voter education, all the voter suppression legislation we’ve challenged mean nothing if people don’t get to the polls or are intimidated out of voting when they get there. Getting out the racial justice vote is even more important now, since Hurricane Sandy disrupted early voting in a number of states. And with such a tight presidential race, there are sure to be more cases of voter intimidation in communities of color, as there were in 2008 when President Obama was elected.

Past cases of voter intimidation/obstruction noted by the Election Protection Coalition include:

  • Voters being threatened with arrest at their polling station if they have unpaid child support or unpaid parking tickets.
  • Misleading robocalls to African-American communities in Maryland on election day 2010 stating that there was no need to go vote because “our goals have been met” (a SURJ Action Team member received one of these calls)
  • Fliers in Ohio and Virginia telling voters that Republicans vote on the actual election day while Democrats vote the day after.
  • Challenges to African-American voters in Philadelphia by men carrying clipboards who drove a fleet of sedans with signs that looked like law enforcement insignia.
  • An Ohio Republican Party plan in 2004 would have involved challengers confronting 97% of new African-American voters in one location. This is one example of a strategy  to create fear, confusion and delays in voting by questioning the eligibility of a voter at a polling place before the voter is able to cast their ballot.

What we can do: As white people showing up for racial justice, join us in ensuring that people of color can get to the polls and cast their votes without intimidation or obstruction.

Below are action items that come in various shapes and sizes designed for your lifestyles. Pick an action or two or more that make sense to you to do in this final lead-up to the election.

2 MINUTE ACTION: In just one click you can spread the word

Send a tweet:

  • Know your state “voter fraud” laws & watch for illegal intimidation at the polls #noroomforracism #vote2012
  • Document voter intimidation at polls. Videotape what you see & send to @videothevote #noroomforracism #vote2012
  • Witness voter intimidation? Contact 1-866-OUR-VOTE or #noroomforracism #vote2012

Take action and post on Facebook:

  • Put that iPhone to good use. Videotape any shady election day attempts to keep people from voting and send to Video the Vote:
  • Know your state “voter fraud” laws, and confront voter intimidation attempts that you witness at the polls. Inform the voter of their rights and ask if you can assist in speaking to the election official responsible for that polling place. Be sure to report any incidents to 1-866-OUR-VOTE or

Share this video from ColorOfChange and Wake the Beast:

5 MINUTE ACTION: Confront and report any shenanigans you observe on election day

When you go to vote, be sure you know your state’s “voter fraud”/suppression laws so you can challenge any illegal attempt at voter intimidation or obstruction that you witness. Inform the voter who is being intimidated. Ask if they’d like your assistance in speaking to the onsite election official responsible for ensuring fairness.

Report any instance of intimidation at the polls or other attempts to suppress the vote (flyers, phone calls). Contact 1-866-OUR-VOTE or You can also notify the U.S. Department of Justice, whose attorneys will be available to take complaints about voter intimidation before, during and after the election:

30 MINUTE ACTION: Write a message and snap a photo

Protest Portrait: Share one of these images on our Facebook page and write a message about what you want to add to the election discussion.  You can also take a picture of yourself with a statement about your feelings on voter intimidation and post to our Facebook page.

Sample signs:

  • Another voter for racial justice #noroomforracism
  • I stand against voter intimidation. I commit to documenting cases of voter obstruction. Video the Vote! #noroomforracism
  • The U.S. polices elections in other countries but allows voter suppression and intimidation at home. I stand for free and fair elections! #noroomforracism

This is a great activity to do at the end of a meeting or when you are with your family or friends.   Post your photo on Facebook and ask others to join you!

Protest Images:

By George Zornick nini via iStock/Salon/Benjamin Wheelock

1 HOUR ACTION: Write to your local paper

Letter to the Editor: The best time to start working for voting reform is now! Write a Letter to the Editor (LTE) about your concerns with voter intimidation at the polls, how it impacts your community and how you want to see it addressed. Send it to your friends, family, organizations, and to the local papers.  Post it on our Facebook page.

Click here for tips on writing an LTE:

Here are some key ideas to include:

  • We’ve heard a lot about alleged voter fraud, but the real danger is voter intimidation targeted at people of color and poor people. (Cite examples of past intimidation)
  • Videotape voter intimidation if you see it at the polls. Visit for more information
  • Report voter intimidation to 1-866-OUR-VOTE or


Take Voters to the Polls
Got a car and some time on Election Day? Help get voters to the polls. Offer to take your neighbors, or contact your local political party or preferred candidate and volunteer to drive voters.

Video the Vote
Be a self-appointed election monitor. Spend as much time as you can at a polling place in a majority people of color neighborhood. This is especially important in swing states. Watch for instances of voter intimidation and obstruction. Videotape the incident and send it to Video the Vote:

Defend the Vote
After the election, work to overturn voter suppression laws in your state. If your state does not have a law now, monitor the state legislature and work to defeat any legislation that is introduced. The Brennan Center for Justice tracks challenges to voting rights at

Contact us:
Phone: JLove: 917-753-0186
Facebook: showingupforracialjusticesurj
Twitter: @showup4rj

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