Time Until Election Day
204 weeks down, 23 days to the presidential election.
The AoC Checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and respect. To stay engaged through challenging times, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration.
I value voting as a foundation of a healthy democracy.
The actions below ensure three things: that our votes are secure, that every citizen can vote, and that every vote is counted.
Step 3: Vote! Mail your ballot no later than October 20, or follow our safe voting checklist if voting in person (early or on Election Day).
Bonus: Encourage your friends to pledge to vote, and share the fact that you pledged on your social media accounts.
Action 2: Advocate for gun-free polls. [Source: Amnesty International]
If you live in any other state: Contact your state’s governor (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [ZIP] and I believe [STATE]’s voters should be free from armed intimidation. While private militias and armed law enforcement are barred from polling places, individuals are still permitted to bring guns to polling places. I urge you to follow Amnesty International’s recommendation and issue an executive order banning guns at and near polling places. Thank you.
Action 3: Crowdsource post-election audits. [Source: Protect Our Votes]
Post-election audits provide evidence that election results are valid. Although audit requirements differ from state to state, citizens have the right to observe audits. You can help verify election results, submit Freedom of Information Act requests, collate information on local election and media policies, and more.
Learn more about election audit volunteer opportunities from at home and online:
Action 4: Report voter intimidation and polling place problems. [Source: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law]
If you experience or witness any type of voter intimidation at polling places or ballot drop locations, report it immediately. Every informed citizen can play an active role in making elections safer.
Call: Election Protection phone hotlines:
English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683);
Spanish/English: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682);
Asian Languages/English: 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683);
Arabic/English: 1-844-YallaUS (1-844-925-5287)
Submit an online report: SeeSay2020
Report to your local elections officials (look up).
I value equality.
Support the dignity of your rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability.
Action 5: Support Indigenous sovereignty over unceded land. [Source: Indigenous Environmental Network]
Write: David Long, CEO, Liberty Mutual Insurance, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 or David.Long@LibertyMutual.com.
Script: I’m writing in solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin leaders to ask that Liberty Mutual end its business relationship with the TC Energy Corporation based in Calgary, Canada. Its KXL pipeline will directly impact the treaty rights, cultural & natural resources, and water rights of tribal nations along its route. As such, this tar sands pipeline, and by extension Liberty Mutual’s connection to it, threaten Indigenous land and the people who depend on it. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Action 6: Increase public input on drilling in national forests. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council]
Submit a comment: On the Federal Register by November 2 using these tips: 1) Introduce yourself. 2) State why you oppose the administration’s proposal to ease requirements for issuing oil and gas leases that would also minimize public input. and if applicable, 3) Share a story of how you benefit from and/or value national forests. Review this article and *personalize* the points below (scripted comments are not counted):
- The public would be cut out of the process under the new rules, which would especially harm Indigenous people.
- The new rules remove explicit U.S. Forest Service confirmation as a required step of issuing oil and gas leases; limit protection to specific, named natural resources instead of wild places within forests; and remove environmental considerations as criteria for approval of plans.
Action 7: Support comprehensive anti-bias training for federal employees. [Source: Americans of Conscience Checklist]
Call: You two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] in response to the administration’s new, narrowed parameters on how race and sex stereotyping may be addressed in federal diversity training programs. I believe full engagement with such topics is more important than ever to grapple with past and current inequities. I’m asking [NAME] to publicly endorse the Congressional Tri-Caucus Chairs’ statement on this executive order and join their call for reversing it. Thank you.
Action 8: Protect healthcare. Oppose Amy Coney Barrett for SCOTUS. [Source: National Homelessness Law Center]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask that [NAME] oppose Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court on the basis of her past critiques of the Affordable Care Act. More than 100 million people would lose coverage due to pre-existing conditions if the ACA is overturned, now an even greater threat because of the pandemic. I believe healthcare is a human right. Please vote against her confirmation. Thank you.
Action 9: Advocate for inclusive COVID-19 relief. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m among the 74% of voters who support prompt Senate action on the updated Heroes Act (H.R. 8406) passed in the House. Millions of Americans continue to struggle from the pandemic, and this bill includes critical provisions for preventing homelessness and covers immigrants who were excluded from the last bill, many of whom work in frontline jobs. Please vote for its passage.Thank you.
Action 10: Support Native Americans’ health. [Source: Americans of Conscience Checklist]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling in solidarity with Native leaders and advocates to support reauthorization of the bipartisan Special Diabetes Program for Native Americans that is set to expire on November 30th. The disease is prevalent among the Native community, and continued treatment and prevention resources are critical for vulnerable people during this pandemic. I’m asking [NAME] to support passage of S. 3937. Thank you.
Action 11: Oppose obstruction of court hearings for asylum seekers. [Source: Immigration Justice Campaign]
The Department of Justice is proposing new rules that would effectively end asylum in the U.S. These rules entail hurdles–including a 12-page application in English and a $50 fee within 15 days (down from 365) of their first court hearing.
Only unique comments are counted. Use some of the talking points below to personalize your message:
- A 15-day deadline does not give an asylum seeker enough time to obtain legal representation.
- It takes most asylum seekers, even those with a lawyer, weeks to complete an application, deliver fees, and collect medical records, police reports, and other crucial documentation.
- Many people seeking asylum do not speak English, and are more likely to make mistakes that could invalidate the application.
- This new regulation would impact tens of thousands of aspiring Americans each year, and would lead to the deportation of thousands of asylum seekers without a meaningful review of their cases.
- The rule would allow judges to submit their own evidence while diminishing the credibility of key sources, such as independent human rights organizations.
Action 12: Defend America’s long history of welcoming those in need. [Source: Refugee Council USA]
Call: Your two senators and one House representative (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP]. With almost 30 million refugees around the world, I believe the U.S. has a legal and moral obligation to welcome people fleeing violence, persecution, and war. I don’t support the president’s attempts to cut refugee resettlement admissions to 15,000 in 2021. I would like [NAME] to reject the administration’s historically low proposal for 2021 and commit to rebuilding the refugee resettlement program to 95,000 admissions. Thank you.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for protecting community health by pushing to delay Supreme Court confirmation hearings until it’s safe for COVID-positive committee members to appear in person. [Share why you appreciate prioritizing community health over politics.]
Address: Leo O’Brien Building, Room 827, Albany, NY 12207
Thank David Lapan, retired U.S. Marine colonel and former Department of Homeland Security press secretary, for advocating to protect the legal rights of aspiring Americans. [Share why you appreciate honoring and preserving the legal rights of aspiring Americans.]
Address: 1225 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005
Thank Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) for protecting the health, well-being, and right to consent to treatment of women held in ICE custody. [Share why you appreciate advocacy that demands human rights and basic decency for all people.]
Address: 302 W. Fifth Street, Suite 201, San Pedro, CA 90731
Thank Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-VA) for advocating against human rights abuses. [Share why you appreciate holding human rights violators accountable for their atrocities, regardless of their political relationship to the U.S. government.]
Address: 4115 Annandale Road, Ste. 103, Annandale, VA 22003
Thank Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) for protecting the health of aspiring Americans currently in ICE custody. [Share why you appreciate heightened health protections for people enduring confinement during the global pandemic.]
JM: 121 SW Salmon Street., Ste. 1400, Portland, OR 97204
MB: Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building, 1244 Speer Boulevard, Denver, CO 80204
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- House passes a resolution condemning forced hysterectomies and other non-consensual procedures performed on detained aspiring Americans.
- Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal by a county clerk who refused marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper bans Confederate flags and other divisive symbols from military bases.
- Federal court removes the acting Bureau of Land Management director after finding he has served unlawfully for 424 days.
- House passes legislation ensuring safe, secure, and fair elections.
- Court blocks the administration’s attempt to cut the Census short; it will now continue until the end of October.
- Administration abandons attempts to interfere with unaccompanied pregnant minors’ access to abortion.
- Court temporarily blocks administration from raising fees for asylum-seekers and citizens.
- Ousman Darboe granted bond after spending more than three years in ICE detention despite NY Governor’s pardon eight months ago.
- AZ: Court extends voter registration deadline to Oct. 23.
- FL extends its voter registration deadline to Oct. 7 following a website crash due to unforeseen site traffic the previous night.
- MO couple who brandished guns at protesters are indicted by a grand jury.
- NC: Court orders additional accommodations for blind and visually impaired voters during the pandemic.
- NJ: Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis is sworn in to the New Jersey Supreme Court, becoming the first Black woman to serve as a state justice.
- OR: AG Ellen Rosenblum files a federal lawsuit against DHS for engaging in unlawful law enforcement against protesters.
- MT: All Montana Counties allowed to vote by mail.
- AK: Court grants preliminary injunction against onerous and unsafe requirement for witness signature on absentee ballots.
- CA: California becomes the first state to pave the way for Black residents and descendants of people who were enslaved to receive reparation payments.
- NJ repeals discriminatory law penalizing women who become new mothers while receiving state assistance.
- VA provides relief to Virginians burdened by excessively high energy bills.
- Following a lawsuit, Santa Barbara County agrees to a remedial plan to fix dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in their county jail.
- Denver institutes the Support Team Assistance Response Program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to respond to 911 calls in lieu of police.
- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issues an executive order allowing city employees to take paid leave to volunteer as poll workers.
- Seattle City Council overrides mayor’s veto of cuts to police budget in response to protests over police violence.
- New York City extends and expands paid leave protections for workers, consumers, and commercial tenants.
- University of Maryland renames their Women’s Studies department in honor of Harriet Tubman.
- Facebook removes ads from the president’s reelection campaign spreading false claims regarding coronavirus and individuals from abroad.
- Facebook flat-out bans all accounts related to a prominent conspiracy theory group across its platforms.
Groups and organizations
- Immigrant Defense Project compiles resources for journalists to report nuanced, informed coverage of immigration topics.
- Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection publishes fact sheets for all 50 states outlining what to do if private militia groups or armed individuals illegally intimidate anyone at a polling place or voter registration drive.
- Sharon-Franklin Brown is named board president of the nonprofit Christopher Street West, becoming the first Black transgender woman to serve in the position.
- Casa de Paz provides shelter, meals, transportation, and other support to aspiring Americans released from detention.
- Movimiento Cosecha redistributes more than $1 million to thousands of immigrant families in 38 states.
- Amnesty USA condemns serious human rights violations on the part of Palantir Technologies, Inc., a soon-to-be publicly traded software corporation with lucrative ICE contracts.
News with heart
- Class of 2020 salutatorian Taran Richardson gets accepted to 65 colleges (and chooses Howard University).
- NASA Astronaut Jeanette Epps joins the International Space Station crew, becoming the first Black woman to do so.
- After decades of collaboration, the African continent eliminates wild polio.
- Siblings Mariah Cubano and Tyshawn Yopp raise money to acquire children’s books with Black characters in them for all schools in New Britain, Conn.
- Christian Cooper, who was accosted in a park while bird watching, creates a graphic novel inspired by the experience to encourage readers to reflect on racial justice.
- Johnathon Hines is named Georgia’s Pre-K Teacher of the Year, becoming the first Black man to receive the state award.
- The Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team will play in the World Games 2022 after initially being deemed ineligible.
- Healthcare and disability rights activist Ady Barkan who has ALS features in Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
- Nurses Lisa Schavrien and Erin Smith create a program to help their patients vote from health care facilities.
- Elliott Ryan builds a roller coaster for his 83-year-old grandfather, Dr. Fred Silverblatt.
- Bee populations in Michigan increase by 50% since 2018.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
- Jen’s message: Read this week’s Inspiring Message.
- Share: Follow us and share the Checklist on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Gratitude: Big thanks to JEB and the Production Team, Social Media volunteers, Research teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.