How to Protect the Results

Well, it happened almost exactly like we predicted: Biden is on track to win the election, but Trump has already declared victory and is using the courts, directed mobs, and the full power of the executive branch to try and steal the election.

If you’ve seen and heard enough, then sign up to join a local Protect the Results rally near you this week and help us demand that every vote is counted, and that the winner, not Donald Trump, gets the presidency:

Here’s what’s happened: As expected, on election day Nov 3, an historic 169 million+ votes were cast. Because of the pandemic, many of those ballots were cast by mail, and as a result of the so-called red-mirage this made it appear that Donald Trump was in the lead for some of the time, in some of the states. But as counting of ballots has continued, Biden is pulling ahead and once all the ballots are counted (sometime between now and Dec 8) we’re sure Joe Biden will win the election

Also as expected, Trump declared ‘victory’ in defiance of the results, and US election law, early this morning. Since then, Trump and his enablers have been using legal challenges, directed mobs, and the full power of the Executive branch to try and steal the election. 

That means that even though states have until Dec 8 to finalize election results, Nov 5-12 will be a critical time to Protect the Results and demand that all votes are counted. It’s also essential that we don’t leave that up to lawyers and courts, which Trump has just packed with his justices. The best way to protect the results is for citizens to show up in the streets and public spaces en masse to demand all votes are counted.

We haven’t been idle. Today activists took to the streets in DC, San Francisco, and other cities. Tomorrow and over the next few days there are hundreds of events planned all over the country where you can show up to demand all the votes are counted, and that the people are allowed to choose their government (not the other way around). Use the map above to find an event near you this week.

If you’re in DC, make sure to join our friends from Shut Down DC again for a rally and moving action by bike, car, or on foot to surround the White House

And we’ll leave you with the advice I added to a message from the inspiring Kentucky Senate Candidate Charles Booker. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are built for the work we must do. And together, I still believe that we will win:

Join ShutDownDC tonight for an election protection party!

Hey metro-DC area friends. Are you worried about the election results? I don’t blame you, if so.

While we’ve been preserving the pillars of our democracy and fighting for the future that we need and deserve; Trump and his enablers have been attacking the democratic process with voter suppression, intimidation and other schemes to undermine the will of the people.

That’s why we are going to keep showing up and keep supporting each other until the people swear in the new government. Since you’re in the DC Area, I wanted to invite you to join ShutDownDC in the streets to hold them all accountable and shut down any attempt to disrupt the election or stop the vote count!

On November 3rd, after you vote, volunteer at the polls, and get out the vote, come to Black Lives Matter Plaza. 

We’re going to start this next phase of the election cycle in the streets. We’ll have GoGo bands, salsa dancers, artists, cultural workers, and much more. We’ll also be watching the election results coming in on big screens. Votes will still be coming in, so this will (probably) not be the time we need to create disruption – yet. But we’ll be together and in a good place mentally and physically to respond to whatever might happen. 

This has been a really long and dark era so we’re going to be together to process our feelings of hope, anger, fear and exhaustion as a community. Regardless of the results, election-night programming will probably wrap up around midnight so we can be energized and ready to hit the streets again on the 4th. 

This is a very fluid time and logistics could change so please make sure to text DEMOCRACY to 88202 for the latest updates. 

What comes next

I’ve been pretty quiet here the last few weeks, but with less than a week until election day I wanted to post a preview and some updates about what comes next. Specifically what to watch for, and how to prepare in the event that Trump tries to dispute the election results or stage a coup to stay in power.

This project is not allowed to campaign for candidates. So while we’ve been quiet over here, I’ve been getting out the vote and I hope you have too. If you haven’t voted yet, please do. If you’re not sure who to vote for, check out the vote climate ballot guide from our friends at Climate Hawks Vote, which has listings for local, state, and federal candidates from nearly every state. If you need help looking up rules on how to vote early, vote by mail, or locate your polling place – check out the non-partisan tools at VoteAmerica.com

Millions of Americans have voted already. And millions more are watching uncertainly – having seen numerous news reports that Donald Trump may not accept the election results.

With this in mind, and given that this blog was itself created in part as a response to the crisis created by Trump’s 2016 election, it makes sense to be prepared for a crisis on and just-after election day. We sincerely hope this information will be unnecessary, but if you’re wondering how to respond – peacefully, forcefully, using digitally-backed direct action methods – we believe you will find these resources useful.

Key dates and principles

No matter where you live, participating in and securing a fair democratic outcome is every citizen’s right, and duty. In usual times, this just means educating yourself on the issues, voting, and paying attention to the results. These are not ordinary times. So what to watch out for may be more complicated, and suggests that a little extra reading and reearch may be helpful.

In a contested election or attempted coup, things will happen fast and information may be unclear. Here are a few key dates and principles to keep in mind. For a long-form read on this topic, we recommend the excellent briefing “The Count” written by movement leaders for this moment. You may also want to check out Stopping the Coup: the Disruption Guide for 2020, which has more principles and preparation on how to form affinity groups and mutual aid networks in advance of the election.

Key dates from The Count with some additions

NOV 3Election Day: In a close election, we are unlikely to know which candidate won on election night.
NOV 4-12The Count This is the window where we should expect conflicting reports of who has one, and a flurry of legal challenges in swing states, especially MI, WI, GA, AZ, NC, and FL. This is also the initial time where we expect to need citizens to take to the streets and demand that every ballot be counted, and that no winner is declared until all votes are tabulated.
DEC 8The “Safe Harbor” Deadline: States must resolve disputes over which ballots to count and report final vote totals or risk their Electoral College votes not being counted by Congress.
DEC 14Deadline for Governors to Report Election Results to Congress: In each state, the governor must send a “certificate of ascertainment” to Congress reporting which candidate won the state and which slate of electors has been appointed to the Electoral College.
The Electoral College Meets: In each state, the winning candidate’s slate of pledged electors meet, cast their votes, and send a record of their votes to Congress.
JAN 3Start of the 117th Congress: All newly elected or reelected senators and representatives are sworn in.
JAN 6Congress Counts Electoral College Votes: Congress convenes in a joint session held in the House chambers to count Electoral College votes and choose the next president. Note that in a contested election, the House awards 1 vote per state delegation, not one vote per member. Since Republicans control more state delegations, this opens the possibility of the House voting to install Donald Trump, even if he did not get the most votes.
JAN 20Inauguration Day: The newly-elected President is sworn in. If Congress hasn’t chosen a new president, the newly-elected Vice President is sworn in as the acting president. If Congress hasn’t chosen a new Vice President, the Speaker of the House is sworn in as the acting president.

To prepare for Nov. 3 and beyond, we wanted to share some resources and opportunities to take action. Please make use of these, share widely with your members and neighbors, and be prepared to jump in to protect our democracy, support the movement, and build our power for the fights to come.

Actions to Join

The Protect the Results coalition is organizing in-person actions across the country to demand all the votes are counted, with a special emphasis on the first weekend after the election, Nov 7-8. Check out the map for hundreds of planned events, as well as resources to organize your own. 

If you’re in the DC area, our old friends ShutDown DC are organizing trainings and actions ahead through Nov. 3 and beyond. Find a list of events and actions here: ShutDownDC.org/calendar 

If you’re in the Bay area, check out the emerging coalition at Bay Resistance, which has trainings and actions planned centering on a Nov 4 day of action in San Francisco and Oakland.

Direct action all-father George Lakey and other long-term allies have also started Choose Democracy, which has tools to pressure your local elected officials to count all the votes, monitor polls, and pledge to take action in the event of a coup or contested election.

United we Dream and the Movement for Black Lives – two non-environmental mobilizations we’ve worked closely with over the Trump years – have teamed up to create the The frontlines. They have opportunities in many cities to protect each other and Democracy on election day and in the aftermath.

Finally, our old friends at the Poor People’s Campaign are calling for an army of poor people and their allies to show up as election monitors and democracy defenders before, during, and after election day. They want you to do MORE: Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, and Educating people to vote.