Indivisible Mad River Valley (IMRV) is issuing a mayday call to everyone who believes that all Americans have a right to vote. The recent primary election in Wisconsin, held at the peak of the COVID-19 health crisis, highlighted the challenges many people across the country face in exercising their most basic democratic right to vote. IMRV is redoubling efforts to bring awareness to the urgent need for voting by mail.
Through postcards, texting, phone calling and a giving circle, activists from the Mad River Valley community support candidates and organizations that promote the right of every eligible American to cast their ballot. They write, call and text voters in Pennsylvania to educate them about the new vote-by-mail legislation. They call and write postcards to voters in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina to let them know they may have been deregistered and to give them information needed to reregister. Through texting and phone calls, voters are urged to call their representatives to demand funding for vote-by-mail for the upcoming election in November.
Recent projects that the IMRV team has worked on include a phone campaign to environmentalists in Pennsylvania to introduce them to the state’s new vote-by-mail procedures, a texting campaign asking MoveOn members to call their senators and demand a pandemic essential workers bill of rights and a postcard campaign fighting voter suppression.
“We have activities to fit every skill level and schedule. Postcarding is great for people with artistic talents; texting, which is done through your computer, fits in well for people working at home; and phoning is perfect for those who like connecting one on one with others,” said Dana Goss, who has been working with the group since 2017.
Another way to protect everyone’s right to vote is through the IMRV Nourishing Democracy Giving Circle. Every month a different organization or candidate is selected and members donate whatever feels comfortable. With everyone in the circle pooling their dollars toward the same cause, the collective funds make an impact. Past beneficiaries of the Giving Circle, including Reclaim Our Vote and Fair Fight, work continuously to address voter suppression issues across the country.
Goss continued, “We know that the hardest part of taking on any of these tasks is taking the first step, so we recently launched a website to make that easy. At IndivisibleMRV.org we provide clear instructions on how to get started with any one of five activist activities called the Fab Five.” The Fab Five includes donating, calling, texting, postcarding and canvassing. Canvassing is on hold for now during social distancing, but the other four activities can all be done safely from home.
The group hosts a weekly “Resistance Cafe” on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. where activists gather via Zoom to call, text or write postcards. There is also time to discuss projects everyone is working on and find support as participants share experiences and address issues they have encountered.
The weekly gatherings were started as a way to bring activists together on a regular basis to pursue the activity of their choice. However, many who regularly attend like the idea of having a specific time scheduled in their calendar each week to do this important work.
Tisa Rennau, who organizes the virtual meet-ups, encourages people interested in getting involved to go to the IMRV website and sign up for an upcoming Resistance Cafe. “Someone from our group will contact you in advance of the cafe to discuss the various options so that you are trained and comfortable making calls, sending texts or writing postcards.”
“We have had a dedicated and committed group of people working with Indivisible Mad River Valley since 2017, but with the general election less than 200 days away, we need all hands on deck to make sure that every eligible voter is guaranteed their fundamental right to cast their ballot. It doesn’t get any more basic than this,” Goss stated, suggesting that anyone interested check out the indivisiblemrv.org website and sign up to help out.