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To Vote or Not To Vote: Vote- and we will sort it all out later.

As anyone who has lived through a US election cycle knows, there is something terribly wrong with our election process. The criticisms abound: the process is too long, it's exhausting, it's too negative, very little is actually learned about the candidates. Often times we feel like we have no choice, our politics seem designed to be dis-inviting, and disengaging. Yes, everyone agrees that our election process needs a thorough overhaul, but exactly what to do is quite a matter of contention. A plurality of people, for instance, believe that we should amend the Constitution to replace the electoral college (46%) but it's not even a solid majority, that believe this!

Only 60% of the country believes that the 2020 presidential election was probably or definitely free and fair! This is up by 7 points from a nadir in the 2016 election, but still far lower than every other election in the past several decades. Furthermore, when we zoom in on the 40% who do not think that the 2020 election was free and fair, the reasons they give for this belief very telling, and extremely concerning for election integrity going forward.

You mentioned that you don’t believe the 2020 presidential election was a free and fair election. Why, specifically, do you think the election was not free and fair? Please select all that apply:

Foreign actors interfered in the election process - 11%

The United States Postal Service did not process all of the mail-in ballots - 38%

Mail-in voting led to widespread voter fraud - 78%

The media gave the candidates unequal media attention - 51%

Structural barriers were in place (e.g., closed polls, mail-in voting restrictions) that made it more difficult to vote -25%

There were online disinformation campaigns - 32%

There was voter intimidation - 28%

Ballots were tampered with - 72%

State and local officials took actions to help candidates - 36%

The vast majority of these voters as we can see, believe that the election was not free and fair based on fringe conspiracy theories floated by Trump and the Republicans. Suspicions about widespread voter fraud from mail in ballots, and massive tampering with ballots during counting are rampant, while evidence of actual election interference, such as voter intimidation, and the slowing down of the USPS processing capabilities by DeJoy, etc. are dismissed out of hand.

There still seems to be a significant amount of disagreement over what actually happened during the 2020 election, and so perhaps, as time goes by and the proverbial sand settles, more people will have a better picture of the recent political frenzy. There is reason, though, for concern, because as with many things in American politics, partisanship seems to be playing a rather out-sized role, and overwhelming some of the other beliefs that people might have. A striking example of this phenomenon is seen in the doubling of GOP voters (35% up to 70%) who believed the election was unfair after seeing Trump lose! In addition, only 18% of republicans said results would be unreliable prior to election day, and now 64% feel that way after learning that Biden won. In contrast, 86% of Democrats trust the results. This points to an extremely concerning situation, in which the reality of holding free and fair elections slips further away, as the yardstick on which such things are measured becomes entangled with the results instead about the process. Democracy is a very fragile thing, and it takes a lot of work to grow and to maintain. It takes community, it takes solidarity, and it takes good faith efforts by many an, along with peaceful transitions of power, gracious losers and humble winners. All of this, of course is sorely lacking in this day in age.

We will not be able to look to our politicians for salvation of our democracy, we need to do it ourselves through organizing, and creating community and solidarity together. We need to build movements that stand up for people and reestablish trust in each other, and in the power of collective action. Join us every Tuesday in growing solidarity as we fight the powers of division and oligarchs who threaten to undermine our democracy. Don't Shop on Tuesdays!

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