I feel complicated about voting and electoral politics in general. At times, it feels like an "opiate" to give folks the illusion that they have some control over how things work, ie, housing, jobs, public benefits, social security, public etc.
Voting can be a way for folks to civically "engage" without rocking the boat too much. Direction actions, protests, demonstrations, etc, and making demands for deep structural changes can be riskier for the privileged than voting for moderate candidates that support the interests of the professional or ruling class. And as someone who is relatively privileged, I feel the need to be thoughtful about my investment in electoral politics and by extension, The State.
Indigenous Action has a zine which discussed how voting is not harm reduction. They explain how voting and the history of voting is inherently a colonial project and that to vote recognizes an oppressive, capitalist settler state and for indigenous people contradicts and undermines indigenous sovereignty.
Nothing I've said above is new thinking and others have definitely shared their thoughts on the limitations of electoral politics (even if they disagree with one another) and other actions we can be taking.
And at the same time, I still believe voter suppression is something worth fighting against. I can't help but feel aligned with Stacey Abrams who wrote in a recent NYT article and whose gubernatorial campaign was hampered by voter suppression: "Voting will not save us from harm, but silence will surely damn us all."
In Texas and nationwide, we might experience a poll worker shortage such that polling places will close down, although there might be some good news. This will inevitably lead to voter suppression so I've decided to become a paid poll worker, myself.
And for those who do not want to be poll worker or even who don't want to vote but still want to help fight voter suppression and protect the rights of those who do want to, especially those who have historically been manipulated out of a vote (Black and Indigenous folks, poor folks, young folks, Latinx folks, even Asian folks too and more), there are other ways to engage, here. If I'm not working the polls, I might become a Roving Poll Monitor and drive to polling locations to monitor any issues or tampering.
And please consider the risks of COVID-19 exposure to yourself and those you are in close proximity to.
[Image description: A picture of the NYC cityscape with the empire state building in the center. Uliya's eyes on in the sky and they are looking down onto the city.]