Action this Week – August 30, 2019

Crisis Averted: Early Voting in Utica AND Rome!

It was a nail biter with a lot of twists and turns in the action, but thanks to the diligence of IMV activists, our political activism partners, and our good relationship with local Democratic committee leaders, voters will be able to vote early in Rome and also Utica in the ten days before Election Day on Nov. 5th.

Here is what we know now: The three early voting sites in Oneida County for 2019 will be: Rome (YMCA), Utica (train station), and New Hartford (former Gander Mountain building–now the NH Town Hall).  Hours will be 10 am-3 pm on the weekends and 10 am-6 pm on the weekends.  The New Hartford site will be open until 8 pm on Tuesday and Thursday (Halloween).

There are still plenty of questions for the commissioners at the Oneida County Board of Elections, but they are not alone.  The State Board of Elections is conducting almost daily conference calls with local election officials across the state in order to figure out all the compliance issues since early voting is all new to New York, following democracy reforms enacted by the state legislature earlier this year.

The good news is that the two biggest populations centers in the county (Utica and Rome) now have sites, and the Utica train station is accessible by public transportation for those in Utica who don’t have a car.  Plus, the Westmoreland site that was originally proposed at a hard -to-find, hard-to-access location in a low population, rural and predominately Republican) community has been eliminated.

It will take some time for the updates to be made to the public by Oneida County Board of Elections, and for other organizations to catch up.  A good resource on early voting is Vote Early NY.  Check that site if you want to learn more about how early voting will work in NY.  We heard from their staff at NY State Indivisible’s Convening, and expect to hear from them again.

Meanwhile, Sarah Reeske, in her role as Indivisible’s NY State Organizer, is researching best practices for early voting (since many other states have been doing this for a while!), and will provide guidance in the weeks ahead so that we will know how to build out plan to Get Out The Vote and track our progress over the course of those 10 days.

GOTV will never be the same again, AND we’ll be ready.

#ClimateStrike!

Mark your calendar now for the global #ClimateStrike, created by young student Greta Thunberg.  The recommendation of our IMV Climate Change Working Group is that every person do something on September 20th to educate another person about climate change.

In addition, IMV”s Working Group plans a small action for the day at the footbridge over the N-S Arterial in Utica between 12 noon and 1 pm.  Anyone who wants to join is welcome to bring a sign.  If you want to help prepare the big letters for the action, the group will be working on September 17th at the Kirkland Town Library from 11-3 pm.

The Climate Change Working Group’s next regular meeting will be on  Monday, September 23rd at 6:30 pm at the Quaker House in Clinton, 2981 Austin Road,  If people are attending then carpooling is requested since we are to leave no trace.

IMV at the MV Latino American Festival

Thanks to the many volunteers who helped IMV staff a table at the festival last weekend!  A number of other volunteers set up a super hero voting booth for children at which they also registered some parents to vote.  Yay!  Now that we have the model of what out super hero voting tent looks like (modeled on Indivisible Binghamton’s) we can bring that show on the road to other events.  By the way, Sarah Reeske was the one in the Dinosaur costume, and Wonder Woman won the kids’ superhero election.

Early Voting Means More Poll Workers Needed

Calling all poll workers!  New York counties need poll workers to make early voting a success; and we need to know who’s working the polls so we can observe the first early voting period this fall, and make improvements for 2020.

You worked your hearts out to pass early voting — now we need to make sure early voting succeeds, and the best way to do that is to sign up to be a poll worker in your county.

Working at the polls puts you on the front lines of democracy and voter service. You will be able to answer questions that matter, and help voters feel confident that their vote counts.  Not only that — you will also be in position to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what changes we need to implement to perfect New York’s early voting process for 2020.

Because of early voting, Boards of Election all over the state need more poll workers than ever, and poll workers can make up to $2,800 working the polls.  What’s different in 2019, is that working at the polls isn’t just one very long day, there will be options for weekdays, evenings and weekends; and a need for translators.  Boards of Election NEED YOU!

Sign up here if you’re already a poll worker, or if you’d like to be one this year or for a future election. Let NY Vote will follow up with application support for anyone new to the process, and will be reach out to all poll workers to find out what your experience is like during early voting and how it can be improved for 2020.

Take the Notary Exam: Win an Election.

We need more people to take the Notary Public Exam.  One of the most important steps for candidates to win elections is to get more party lines than just the Democratic line.  Getting on to the Independence Party line gave Anthony Brindisi access to all kinds of voters who wanted to vote for him on an alternative line. However, only Notaries can collect signatures for a party in which they are not a member.  So we will need a bunch of Notaries who can carry petitions next March.

If you want to help, and you’re not a Notary yet, your next step is to take the exam.  In Oneida County there is one on a Tuesday each month at 9 am and 10:30 am.   The upcoming dates are: Sept. 10, Oct. 22,, Nov. 26, and Dec. 17.  The exam is held at the State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street, 1st floor room 107 in Utica.

IMV Book Club Monday, Sept. 9th: “Don’t Think of an Elephant”

The IMV book group is reading  “Don’t Think of an Elephant!” (“The All New” 2014 edition) by George Lakoff. If you haven’t read it yet, you still have a few weeks to pick up the book and get started!  This best selling book on framing is good background for our September meeting topic on messaging and communicating with people who are less progressive than we are. We will have a discussion on Monday, September 9th, 7-9 pm at the Kirkland Town Library (History room). If you have any questions, feel free to email Jennifer at jgeiger777@gmail.com.

Weekly Vigil for the Migrants Detained, Separated

IMV has joined with Pax Christi to hold a weekly vigil for the families separated at the border.  We will meet at Oneida Square Roundabout (new location) for maximum visibility on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 pm.  The next vigil is this coming Wednesday, September 4th.  All are welcome.  Please bring your posters.

We will hold the vigil at least until the Sept. 13th Defund Hate National Day of Action.  Let’s not let anyone forget the people trapped in detention centers with inadequate food, water, space, hygiene, and medical care, many of them children.

Even if you can’t make it to the vigil, you can still take action.  Call Rep. Brindisi’s office right now at 1-844-909-0232 to ask him to cut funding for ICE and CBP in this September’s funding bill, get rid of the slush fund, and put up guardrails so that Trump can’t just steal from FEMA and so that our treatment of immigrants is just and humane.  If you dial the number above you’ll hear a simple a script and be connected directly to his office.

It’s Time to #DefundHate

So the BIG ACTION we are working on for September in every Indivisible group across the country is…our #DefundHate Week of Action, September 9-13.  Our IMV goal is to make sure our community understands why @RepBrindisi needs to vote for an appropriations bill in September (deadline is Sept. 30) that reduces ICE and CBP fiscal year budgets back down to 2016 levels.

ICE and CBP spending has ballooned under a Congress that has enabled Trump to militarize the border, commit atrocities against innocent people seeking help from our country, and even to terrorize families and separate children from the parents.

The ONLY reason that Trump is conducting a reign of terror against immigrants is because Congress is PAYING for it.  But we can convince our Members of Congress to stop writing a blank check to the Trump administration.  The less money Congress allocates, the less harm that ICE and CBP can do. It is that simple.

Congress has appropriated billions of dollars for immigration enforcement with almost no guardrails, giving Trump a blank check to attack immigrants. In fact, just a month ago, 129 Democrats (including Anthony Brindisi) voted to pass a bill to give Donald Trump billions more for detention and enforcement, including millions of additional funding for ICE, with no oversight, guardrails, or safeguards. The bill was approved with majority Republican support.

What Trump has demonstrated time and time again is that he will use every dollar he can to detain, separate, and deport families. Instead of using its power of the purse to put a stop to the abuses, Congress has chosen to give Trump more resources. That makes them complicit. We need to put all the pressure we can on our Member of Congress to vote the right way on the September appropriation bill.

Here’s what you can do:

#1 Call Rep. Brindisi’s office and tell him you expect him to defund hate by slashing ICE and CBP budgets.  The less money they have, the less harm they can do.
#2 Check out this video, and take ACTION by writing a letter to the editor or recording and sharing a video on social media that lets your friends know why your values do not support funding hate.
#3 Join the chalking team for the week of September 9th.  People will be chalking sidewalks in downtown Utica, but you can do it in your neighborhood.  Visit the DefundHate site to learn more about how chalking will play a role in the Week of Action.
#4 Use the hashtag #DefundHate in all your social media posting.  Direct your tweets and posts to @RepBrindisi so that he knows you expect him to defund the Trump administration’s hate.
#5 Attend our big #DefundHate rally in Utica on September 13th.  Bring your signs about kids in cages, separated families, and why our country should NOT be building more concentration camps.  Sign up now on the Indivisible event map, and share the link with your friends by email.

We’re not going to let Trump, his administration or anyone on the right use fear-mongering and scare tactics to divide us and turn us against our neighbors coming to the US for help. We’re Indivisible and together we’re going to #DefundHate.  We won’t watch people suffer and do nothing.  We want watch our government conduct hate filled policies in our name.  We will take action, because…

Democracy is not a spectator sport.