Democracy Denied: The Dark Side Of Signature Matching For Voter Suppression

6 mins read

Democracy Denied: The Dark Side Of Signature Matching For Voter Suppression

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

The same goes for voter suppression. If you don’t look, you could miss it.There’s many ways to deny the will of the people:
Peaceful protestors can be killed.
Groups helping arrested protestors get bail can be charged.
Referendums demanding change can be sabotaged by ‘signature matching’.

Bernice King, quoted her father, Martin Luther King Jr, in his 1957 speech “Give Us the Ballot” in a  letter  that called on Atlanta city leaders to “put it to a public vote.” “The participation of the people must be welcome. Atlanta cannot be a city that closes its ears to its most vulnerable residents, who have been made so by historically discriminatory, destructive, and undemocratic policies and practices.”

How can grassroots groups draw attention to their cause and mobilize supporters? How can they do this quickly with little staff, money and skills? Check this StoryMap about what’s happening in Atlanta and then read on to see how it was created, and applying the same visual storytelling technique for your cause.

Mobilization for an evolving issue

The big money crackdown to get COP CITY built is a long term affair. From violence against protestors, activists being arrested and now signature verification schemes. Storytelling to mobilize supporters has to evolve with the events. That’s where StoryMaps is an ideal app. The story is online and can be updated with new developments and calls to action.#StopCopCity Diverse Coalition Unites Against Atlanta’s Plan to Build “Cop City”(Jan 26, 2023)
Mapping The Brutal Crackdown On Dissent Against Cop City (Jun 2, 2023)
Vote To Stop Cop City: Atlanta’s Fight Against Corporate Control (Aug 12, 2023)Grassroots groups are at a disadvantage. They cannot afford slick marketing consultants. Nor do they have budgets to produce fancy videos. And their supporters do not own big media empires. How can they get their story heard against such powerful forces?

Move fast. Make it easy to get the facts easy to understand. Provide clear and timely calls to action. All with minimal time, staff and money. Technology like StoryMaps from esri is an equalizer. It costs nonprofits about $40/month. Is easy to use and creates compelling content that’s easy to update with events.

Stop Cop City Activists Want a Democratic Process. The City of Atlanta Doesn’t.

“Since the escalation of the Cop City fight earlier this year, Georgia officials have employed a number of repressive tactics against the left-leaning protesters — a loose coalition of people ranging from neighborhood groups, activist organizations, and environmentalists concerned about the project’s razing of a swath of Atlanta’s famed tree canopy.In January, the police killed an environmentalist named Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Terán by shooting them at least eleven times during a raid on protesters in the forest near Cop City. The medical examiner has ruled Tortuguita’s death a homicide. About forty other activists have been arrested and held on specious domestic terrorism charges, including attendees of a Stop Cop City music festival.Additionally, in May, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested three activists involved in the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a mutual aid and bail fund, on allegations of “charity fraud” and money laundering due to their effort to oppose Cop City. Building on this narrative of corruption, Governor Brian Kemp said the state would “track down every member of a criminal organization, from violent foot soldiers to their uncaring leaders.” – Jacobin

#STOPCOPCITY – What can you do?

Join the movement
Find the corporations and institutions that are responsible for the Cop City project near you and take action
Demand District Attorney Sherry Boston drop domestic terrorism charges against Stop Cop City protesters
Autonomously organize your community to put pressure on contractors to pull out of the project: information on contractors
Plan actions to pressure Atlanta Police Foundation funders to divest. (ex: protests, call-in campaigns, letter writing, boycotting, etc.)

TakeAway: #StopCopCity

Deepak
DemLabs

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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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