To See Democracy in Action, Look to Islanders

Voting and urging others to do so are expressions of hope.

  • Friday, October 30, 2020 3:28pm
  • Opinion
It’s all in a day’s work for Vashon volunteers to send hundreds of postcards a day to voters nationwide (Photo courtesy Vashon Indivisible).

It’s all in a day’s work for Vashon volunteers to send hundreds of postcards a day to voters nationwide (Photo courtesy Vashon Indivisible).

This is a love letter to everyone who has already voted, to those who have a plan to vote, but most of all, to those who have encouraged others to vote.

Voting and urging others to do so are expressions of hope, and hope flies in the face of what we’ve all been through in the past eight months.

And indeed, during the past four years, too much has been said and done to far too many Americans to make them feel as though their votes don’t matter.

But there is a group of people on Vashon who have not despaired. They’ve also cared enough to send a completely different message out across our divided nation.

Imagine someone opening their mailbox, somewhere in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia or Pennsylvania, and finding inside it a postcard from Vashon.

For the past four years, more than 90 members of the local organization, Indivisible Vashon, have quietly been using the old fashioned tools of ink, paper and stamps to urge people — both here in Washington but also in states with patterns of cliffhanger elections and voter suppression — to exercise their right to vote in state-wide contests and now, our national election.

These citizen-activists, joined by Vashon’s chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) have often sent out as many as 1,000 postcards per week, according to Kevin Jones, who is a leader of Indivisible Vashon. Jones also credited Jessica Lisovsky, of SURJ, with leading the efforts of that group, and recognized Marie Browne, who first created Indivisible Vashon’s Write to Resist campaign in 2017.

Together, volunteers from these groups have taken part in several national initiatives, including Postcards to Voters, Reclaim Our Vote and Vote Forward — spending long hours each week at the kitchen table, quietly penning notes to strangers in swing states and also those here at home.

Their epistles have sometimes supported specific candidates for state-wide offices, but just as often, they have also provided simple reminders to register to vote and sign up to vote by mail.

And as the elections cycles have shifted through the long years of the Trump administration, these islanders have faithfully kept the postcards and letters coming.

Debby Jackson, one of the key organizers of Indivisible Vashon’s efforts, said that she has helped coordinate the work of many letter and postcard writers who are affiliated with the group. But she also said she knows there are others out there, on Vashon, who are doing the same thing all on their own.

On Oct. 17, Jackson took bales of letters to the Vashon post office for the “mail day” for Vote Forward, a national online effort to reach voters in swing states.

But while she was there, she said, she saw a man she had never met before, at his car, unloading 1500 letters that he had written independently, as part of the same effort.

Writing postcards isn’t all that Indivisible Vashon does, of course. As election day nears, the group is also announcing their plans to be a part of another movement: Protect the Results. For information on that initiative, read Kevin Jones’ commentary on these pages, or visit the group’s website, indivisiblevashon.org to learn more about the broad work of the group.

Regardless of your political leanings, who on this island could not be proud to have such engaged and civic-minded neighbors?

They believe in democracy in action.

— For a complete guide to registering and voting in King County, visit kingcounty.gov/depts/elections.


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