VIDEO: COVID, Voting Rights & the Public Good

The photos of thousands of Wisconsin voters wearing masks and socially distancing while lining up to vote in last month’s primary election is one of the starkest images of the current pandemic. The image also embodies one of the main questions for the United States in the months to come: How will COVID-19 impact the November elections?

Can our movements create new openings in this moment to expand the electorate and make voting rights a public good? Or will the crisis further isolate communities that have historically been barred from access to electoral and governing power? Is now the time to redefine voting rights as a public good instead of a narrow privilege?

This video captures a discussion between a panel of organizers and grassroots leaders from around the country:

Kim Fellner, All Hands Brigade (a project of Just Strategy)
Kevin Killer, Advance Native Political Leadership
Ebony B. Guy, Virginia Organizing

The Coronavirus pandemic creates both opportunities and challenges to voting rights across the country. Sixteen states have postponed primaries since the pandemic began. At least seven states rapidly passed legislation allowing or expanding voting by mail in the past few weeks. At the same time, the real threat and fear of Coronavirus could reduce voting, particularly for the hardest-hit communities. Mobilizing the vote is also a big challenge for organizers as traditional methods of outreach and engagement are being transformed by shelter-at-home orders and physical distancing. Join us for a panel presentation about how organizations around the country are responding to the impact of Coronavirous on voting rights and the elections.

The panel discussed the threats and opportunities to elections posed by Coronavirus in Indian Country, for formerly incarcerated people and for all of us.