Elections can make for tense times even in “normal” years—and 2020 isn’t a normal year. In addition to the perils of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is also experiencing a rise in white supremacy, and with it the threat of politically motivated violence. Many people in the U.S. are concerned about the future of our democracy.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect the integrity of our elections.
1. Pledge to protect our democracy.
Election integrity is at the heart of any democracy–and it is up to all of us to protect and enhance it! The experience of people in other countries who have successfully countered election violence has shown that widespread public commitment to election integrity can make a difference.
Make your commitment to democracy known by taking this pledge and sharing it with others.
I believe that everyone should have safe access to vote, and that everyone’s vote must be counted, without interference or intimidation. This is an essential human right and a core commitment of any healthy democracy.
- I pledge to vote if I am eligible to do so, and to stand against voter suppression in all its forms.
- I pledge to nonviolently protest to protect our democracy if election results are declared before all votes are counted.
- I pledge to nonviolently protest to protect our democracy if a duly elected official is denied a peaceful transfer of power.
- I pledge to work nonviolently to protect those in my community under threat from election related or white supremacist motivated violence.
2. Involve your public officials and community leaders.
One of the most effective ways we can protect our democracy is to mobilize as many influential people as possible to publicly call for integrity in our elections. Here are tips for organizing to convince leaders in your community to join the effort.
Determine who needs to be reached. Possibilities include members of Congress, governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general, and local election officials. You can make the same ask of other influential community members, including religious leaders, business executives, heads of community groups, or cultural figures.
Cast as broad a net as possible. The more diverse the array of voices joining in the call, the better.
Decide the most effective method to reach them. You can plan visits or phone calls with officials and/or their staff; social media campaigns, such as Twitter storms; or press conferences and media work.
Escalating tactics can include socially distanced picketing at offices or important locations; car caravans; or even sitting in at offices. Remember, what we want them to do is commit to calling for a clean election in which every vote counts–and doing so publicly.
3. Protest nonviolently and safely—and support others in doing so, too.
A guide to protesting: How to prepare, stay safe, and get your message across
The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of a healthy democracy. Visit our protest resource page for safety tips, downloadable posters and graphics, and more.
Learn how to intervene if someone is being harassed
Have you ever wondered what should you do if you witness public instances of racist, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-trans, or other form of oppressive interpersonal violence or harassment? Visit our bystander intervention page to learn how to intervene while considering the safety of everyone involved.
Prepare and breathe: Bystander intervention and de-escalation training
One way to help keep our communities safe is by having lots of people around the country showing up to the polls, protests, and other public places with skills in bystander intervention and de-escalation tactics. Watch AFSC's training on proven techniques for countering violence, whether it comes from a single person or a group of people.