As a political organization, one of our most critical roles is protecting access to the polls for all Portlanders. That’s why we were so alarmed by the Press Herald article earlier this week that Portland is considering closing all but two mainland polling locations this July:
We completely understand that we are in the middle of a pandemic, and that many folks who regularly serve as poll workers might not be comfortable serving this year. However, consolidating Portland’s polling locations down to two on the mainland (and one on Peaks) is entirely unacceptable and will lead to long lines, increased burdens for voters with accessibility challenges, disenfranchising many voters while increasing rather than decreasing health risks due to substantially greater numbers of voters per site.
Will you sign this petition to Portland officials calling on them to keep all of our polling locations open this July?
The City can’t do it alone, though – there is currently a severe shortage of poll workers due to COVID-19. In order for them to keep our polling places open, we need to step up and help recruit poll workers who can staff the polls on July 14 – particularly younger folks who are in good health. Will you sign up to be a poll worker for July 14? This job is paid, and anyone who is 18 or older and who is registered to vote and a resident of the municipality or the county can serve as a poll worker.
Thank you for standing up for democracy!
George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight by a Minneapolis police officer one week ago today. In the week that’s followed, we’ve seen peaceful protesters mourning this loss of life met with even more violence from police, including in our own city. It’s horrific, it’s enraging, and it’s tragically unsurprising.
These heinous acts join the countless brutalities inflicted on black and brown people in every corner of our country by a criminal justice system that violently upholds white supremacy by design. This centuries-long culture of violence must end.
The Portland Democrats stand in solidarity with the protesters across the country who are on the front lines in the struggle for justice. As the Portland Police Department demonstrated last night when they sprayed mace and shot pepper bullets at those pleading for an end to police brutality, the scourge of racialized violence lives in all of our communities. It’s up to all of us to stand against it.
We also recognize that the systematic racism that informs America’s policing tactics infects all of us, and we commit to doing more to elevate black and brown voices and center racial justice in our work. As stated in our mission, “We believe in truly inclusive, participatory, transparent, and democratic governance based in the equality of all citizens, and strive to model these values in our organization and community.” We’re developing a plan to ensure that as a committee we’re actively working to dismantle racism, and we encourage input from committee members on this process. We ask our white members to take this moment to ask yourselves what more you can be doing to deconstruct systemic racism in your country, in your community, and in yourselves.
Systems change when disenfranchised people vote. Please join us in our work of literally enfranchising people and growing the vote, building the power to take the Presidency from Trump, the Senate from Republicans, and the Senate seat from Collins. Portland turnout will be key this year and you’ll find voting turnout links on our Facebook page and website.
If you have the means to do so, please contribute to an organization that is fighting for racial justice. There are so many incredible organizations doing this important work, but here is a small sample of some of the groups you might consider supporting:
- Black Lives Matter Portland
- Maine Youth Justice
- Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center
- Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition
- Maine NAACP
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
- The Bail Project
- Color of Change
- ACLU of Maine
- Dream Defenders
- United We Dream
In addition, the City’s Police Citizen Review Subcommittee will be meeting next Wednesday, June 10 at 6:00 PM and we call on City leaders to ensure that the meeting is transparent and accessible. Information about the meeting can be found here.
To all of our members, we cannot stay silent right now. We can do better, and we must.