On September 17, 2019, advocates from across the country in 40 locations and over 25 states gathered in solidarity to demand that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell secure our elections prior to the October 1st funding deadline. We held rallies and organized press conferences.
Our speakers in Chicago: Jaquie Algee from SEIU and Women’s March Chicago, Rose Colacino of Election Security Strategic Team, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, Co-coordinator Indivisible Illinois, Renato Mariotti–CNN Legal Analyst and Kim Savage, Co-president Illinois Democratic Women, spoke truth to power. We made signs to convey our message and articulate our demands. We stood in partnership with our elected officials which included staff from Senators Durbin and Duckworth’s offices as well as a representative from Congressman Mike Quigley’s office. Senator Duckworth showed her support by asking us to read her quote in support of the need for election security. Representatives from nearly a dozen Indivisible groups let their voices be heard. Students from UIC lent their support. We were bolstered by partners from Indivisible Illinois, Women’s March Chicago, SEIU, Illinois Democratic Women, Indivisible Illinois 9th District, NWSOFA Indivisible, Western Front Indivisible and the Election Security Strategic Team–Indivisible Illinois.
There have been numerous attempts to pass election security legislation for naught. We have called our representatives and we have written letters to the editor. Those efforts laid the way, but it was the concerted effort and the steady drumbeat of demands that seemed to move the needle. For far too long Mitch McConnell has been able to avoid the glare of attention and actively subvert our Democracy. The Day-of-Action which put the spotlight on his dereliction of duty to secure the sacred and fundamental right to vote is what finally broke through the armor and pretext of not securing our elections. The false narrative and commonly used dog whistle of states rights as an excuse not to fund
the defense of our elections against hostile foreign intervention finally broke away and the truth prevailed.
The concentrated call-to-action from across the nation finally received the attention of Mitch McConnell. Our simultaneous calls that crashed the phone lines to McConnell’s office and the constant barrage of social media references made a difference. We are the people that we have been waiting for. We demonstrated the force and the power of citizen activists.
We asked for over $600 million in election security funding but received $250 million. Is it enough? No! However, it is progress and better than where we have been. The moniker “Moscow Mitch” really hit a point of contention and a nerve with McConnell.
What’s next? We keep pushing. Once out of the Rules Committee, funding goes to the full Appropriations Committee then negotiations between the House and Senate begin. The funding right now is without restrictions for states which is unacceptable. We celebrate what we have accomplished, but we keep our eye on the ball and keep forging ahead! If we are loud enough, our voices will be heard once again!