Make Sure Every Vote is Counted

At 2:30am, Donald Trump did what he has threatened to do for months– declare that he will remain President and insist that votes stop being counted even though the ballots of millions of Americans had yet to be tallied. Trump has spent months discrediting our electoral process, lying about mail-in votes and calling them fraudulent. Days before the election, Trump implied he would “go all in” and mount legal challenges to disrupt the vote, before all votes were in. Let’s be clear: if Trump is allowed to remain in power without counting all votes, this is an illegitimate, stolen election.

Presidents don’t decide elections. Voters do. The outcome is unclear in six swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and all are still counting votes. Until every vote is counted, this election is not over.  

Our democracy is far from perfect. This no surprise given that it was built by and for the wealthy and elite. We have seen its corruption over and over again. In 2000, when less than 550 Floridian votes decided a flawed election while Florida’s right leaning court refused a recount.  We have seen it through voter suppression and intimidation carried out over the past several months. And we see it all the time, right here in WNY, when corporations and polluters are not held accountable for making poor and working class white communities and communities of color sick, exposing us to pollution and hazardous waste; when people of color and women from are kept from advancing in the workplaces like Tesla; and when our police department and holding center are allowed to systemically enable officers and racist citizens to take Black lives. 

But despite all odds, in this imperfect system that has beaten so many of our people down, we continue to show up. We continue to turn out, day in and day out, because we know that institutions are only as strong as we demand them to be. Because this is our country, and we’re not going anywhere.

We choose to believe the power of organizing. Despite possibly the most egregious voter suppression in our country’s history, the strength of the American democracy has been upheld by the millions of people that stood in voting lines for hours on end, the millions of calls to people in GA, PA, and swing states across the country ensuring voters had the information and resources they needed to cast their vote, and the hard work of movement builders who, for the past four years, have fought harder than ever to stop the erosion of civil protections for our people. 

At this moment, we cannot stand on the sidelines. The chaos and confusion caused by the President refusing to honor the democratic process is a strategic choice to make us feel confused, overwhelmed, and powerless.

But we are not powerless. We are powerful. We are stronger than they are, and we always have been. And right now, we have a choice. We are either on the side of freedom and democracy, or the side of corruption and suppression. We can choose what is easy, or what is right. What is just or what is immoral. This is not about red or blue, this is about democracy or facisim. The people of this country have spoken, and that voice needs to be heard, respected and followed.

At Clean Air, we know that our members have many differences. We differ along class, race and party lines, but what unites us is our belief in our shared values and our vision for a brighter, better and more democratic future for all of us. No matter who you voted for this election, we have a duty to carry out the will of the American people. We have a moral responsibility to uphold democracy. If we chose to stay silent, we are causing harm, and that is not who we are. 

We know that our voices matter. The voices and hard work of everyday people stopped silica dust from entering our homes and our lungs, benzene and PCBs from entering our communities and the racism and sexism of workplaces from staying buried and hidden. But this is about much more than what we are against, this is about what we are organizing for. We are fighting for clean air and water, healthy communities where everyone has what they need, for workplaces that provide family sustaining wages and dignity for all workers. Right now, we need to fight for all of that and more. We need to organize and fight for the future of our democracy. 

Your voice matters. Your body, on the street at a protest or on the phone providing support, matters. Your calls to elected officials matter. Your participation in a general strike matters. Whatever role you decide to play in this movement, play it and play it well. We’re not being trite, you really do matter. You have skills, talents and a network that count in this moment more than ever before. Do you do well on the phone? Do you have a big family or group of friends or access to a listserv? Can you sew? Can you cook? Do you have a lot of extra cardboard boxes in your house? Do you feel safe driving at night? We need you, all of you, to see this through.

Here are two ways you can get involved in this moment:

Join the New Georgia Project Phonebanks: Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots could be rejected this November because of mistakes, such as mismatched signatures or name changes. Help us ensure that every vote is counted as we call voters to inform them of how they can track and, if needed, cure their ballot. Register Here.

Join Our Election Debrief Thursday afternoon: If you are a member who wants to debrief the election, and how you can show up in this moment. Join us on zoom or by phone Thursday 4:30pm to be together, process and discuss ways we can save our democracy. Register here.

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