5 min read
by Toni Brannagan | 10/16/2020
We know you know there’s a pretty big election coming up in the U.S. The question we have is simple: What’s your voting plan?
It might seem like an unnecessary extra step, but in *these unprecedented times*, things you might have taken for granted like your voter registration status or the location of your polling place may have shifted. Taking the time to explore your options and create an action plan will only make exercising your right to vote easier.
Equipping folks with the information they need to exercise their rights is just some of the incredible work being done by Supermajority, which was founded by women who have been organizing for decades to teach as many other women as they can to become activists, advocates, and help build a more equitable future for *all* women. Our friend Adora Jenkins, Supermajority’s Managing Director of Communications & Brand, is here to tell us about the organization’s work, how to make our own voting plans, and why that’s so important—all together now—*now more than ever*.
Adora Jenkins: Supermajority was founded in April 2019 to essentially harness the power of women of all races, ages, and backgrounds. We saw how women were feeling and reacting in 2016 and 2017, and our co-founders went all around the country talking to women. And everywhere they went, women were saying things like I need to do more, I’m not going to sit these next few years out, what can I do to be more effective and to just finally create a world where women are truly equal? And that’s essentially the source and inspiration of Supermajority.
Women are the majority of Americans — we’re the majority of volunteers, we’re the majority of donors, we’re the majority of voters, and, at least prior to the pandemic, we were the majority of the workforce. That’s where the name of our organization comes into play. We actually have so much power and there’s power and strength in numbers. We felt that this was the opportunity to take advantage of that. This is about harnessing our political power and showing leaders, certainly in the upcoming weeks, that they owe it to us to create policy that will make our lives better.
AJ: What we’re trying to do is something that really hasn’t been done before, which is organizing women across age, race, and background. Most of the time people gather in groups that are very like-minded, where folks look the same and come from very similar backgrounds. That’s been done — what hasn’t been done is this, and that’s what makes this work both challenging and rewarding. One of the ways we do this work is by centering the experience and voices of women of color. At Supermajority we believe that the lives and experiences of women of color should be front and center in addressing all of our nation’s challenges because the people most impacted must be at the forefront of the solutions.
One of my favorite things about working here is joining Zoom calls with all 40-something of us, and seeing we actually live our values when it comes to racial diversity. Seeing all the faces of women of color all over the organization, in all levels of the organization. The majority of our staff and our leadership are women of color. It’s really very inspiring.
AJ: We’re running the largest women-powered voter engagement program this country has ever seen. Our next big initiative, which is starting this Saturday, is called Women Are Voting. On Saturday, October 17th, 94 million women are eligible to cast their ballots in 36 states, and it's just 17 days before the election day. So together with several major progressive organizations, we’re going to get as many women to the polls on October 17th as possible. And we are asking everyone to do three things: 1) Vote 2) Rep your vote using the hashtag #WomenAreVoting, and 3) Get out the vote by signing up for volunteer shifts to to talk to or text women voters. Over 6 million women have already voted! And we know women are gonna decide this election. Saturday will be a show of force.
But Supermajority is also built to last beyond this election. As our co-founder Cecile Richards has said, no matter who has been in office, women have struggled because of the sexist systems that are in place. And that’s what we seek to change. Supermajority has this very lofty goal of imagining building a world where we’re truly equal, and that is what we are fighting for long-term. But first and foremost, we have to vote. Another one of our other co-founders, Katherine Granger, has said that our vote is our power, and if we can get people in office who understand our power and that we got them there, then we can hold them accountable. How amazing would that be?!
Of course, there are a lot of ways to make change in this country, but one of the most powerful ways we can do that is by voting. I’m not saying you shouldn’t march — you should march. I’m not saying you shouldn’t protest — you should protest. But you also have to vote. Because that is a key pillar to the power that we need to wield to actually recognize a more equitable society.
AJ: At Supermajority, we like to say that you have to put your oxygen mask on first — so, you have to make sure you’ve created a plan for yourself, and that starts with making sure you’re registered to vote. I’ve heard from people that I know and love “Oh, yeah, I know that I’m registered” and then when I go and look it up, surprise, they’re not registered. So check that first. Then you decide, is it by mail or in-person, make sure you know your polling location, the hours it is open, how you’re getting there, etc. Pick a date and a time. The good news is: we have a voter checklist tool at Supermajority.com that is super fast and easy, will answer all of your questions in one place, and get you right and ready to cast that ballot.
The voter checklist tool even has your sample ballot so you can be prepared to vote on ballot measures and those smaller local races (like prosecutors, judges and council members) that you might not be familiar with. And you can mark that sample ballot up with your choices, save it or print it out, and then take it to the polls with you — like your personal little cheat sheet!
So once your plan is made, and that oxygen mask is on, the next step is to call and text your friends and family and make sure they do the same.
AJ: In fact, there’s actual science behind this, where researchers have seen the likelihood of voting increases by nearly 10% if you have a plan. Add to that that this is an incredibly critical time in our nation’s history, and there’s a lot in flux right now. And so one thing that doesn’t have to be in flux is your plan to vote. I don’t know about you, but it feels good to take control of something in these uncertain times, and making a plan to vote is one way you can.
Part of that plan also has to be preparing to be safe, or stand in line for a very long time. Do you have your masks, do you have your hand sanitizer, do you need to bring a lawn chair, snacks? Have you downloaded a couple movies on your phone or new games? We have to pretend like this is the last chance to see Beyonce at Coachella. You would definitely wait in line for Beyonce at Coachella, so we have to be THAT prepared to exercise our right to vote.
AJ: My husband and I will be voting absentee. We expect to receive our ballots by the end of this week, and then we’ll be voting by mail.
We’ve always taken our son to vote since he was 4 months old, so we will be filling out our ballots with our now four-year-old son on our laps, and then we will go together to put it in the mail and take a photo to mark the occasion. The family that votes together, stays together, that’s what I think!
Toni Brannagan is a writer and was the former Copy and Content Manager at Thinx.
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