Ruckus Updates

Take Action this Election!

So for those who have been watching, to close the loop 🙂

This is a report on Election Protection issues today in a nutshell:

Overall there were a ton of problems during the early voting process and all day today. The turn-out was beyond even the highest expectations. There was also some deeply collaborative response work – election protection was finally addressed as a combined legal, media and grassroots organizing strategy. This is exciting growth, and something to smile about, and though there were problems there were also amazing responses, so we are documenting both here.

Reports fell into a couple of key clusters, so we’re just gonna give y’all highlights, simple as possible:

1. Long lines!

What happened: High turn-out combined with faulty machines, too few machines, and poorly trained poll workers made for some extremely long lines today.

Response: Organizers from various campaigns and amazing citizen activists who heard the call from us and other groups today went out to the polls with chairs, music, poems, rhymes and song to help support voters to stay strong. Folks video’d the vote, tweeted, called, and stayed out as long as they needed to keep people at the polls, and make sure their vote was counted.

2. Names not on the rolls!

What happened: Towards the beginning of the day in particular, the reports were largely that folks showed up and their names weren’t there. This wasn’t just for new voters, a lot of the reports were from folks who had voted in the same place for more than 2 elections.

Response: Calls poured into 866-OUR-VOTE (over 50,000 today alone) and legal teams responded where possible, and well-prepared voter education teams reminded people to fight for their right to vote. Unfortunately in a lot of places that meant voting on provisional ballots, which are the last to be counted.

3. Machine Glitchery!

What happened:

A) President Vote Disappearances: when folks selected a presidential candidate, then selected a straight party line, it somehow disappeared the presidential selection. Initially this was only being reported by Democrats, but there were isolated Republican, Green and other parties seeing this happen.

B) Machines broke! Overuse? Sabotage? Just not enough of them?  Time will tell.  This is one area Black Box Voting and others covered very well, and we need to be prepared to follow their lead in the future.

Response: Voters who noticed this were given paper ballot options. In situation A, officials claimed it was counting in the magic machine even though it wasn’t showing up. The power of voter organizing was in effect here and kept folks ensured that their vote would be counted, hopefully by paper ballot!

4. Nefarious texting and flyers!

What happened: College students and others were reported as receiving messages telling them to vote on Wednesday due to long lines and last minute "change of plans."  We received reports of this happening in TX, FL, PA, MT, GA, VA, NM, CO and UT. In some messages it was specified that Democrats should vote on Wednesday.

Response: Jaws dropped, and then folks sent out educational emails, texts and got the message to their organizers in the field to let folks know that the vote for all people was in fact November 4, 2008.  Amazing viral outreach on this one!

There was more, there was so much more, but right now we have to run out in the street and act a fool.

One exciting point that for us is huge, cuz y’all know we have given our hearts to this: Young people, who made up 18% of the voters today, were out in force. Black folks were out in force. Gay folks were out in force. The energy of the day was remarkable, and we want to shout out our gratitude to everyone who hit the streets, phones, blogs, and polls for the last months and today starting at 3am.


And we’ll be back to work tomorrow 🙂

Adrienne Maree Brown and Jessamyn Delight Sabbag


The Ruckus Society has been working with partners across the nation to push electoral politics beyond just "get out the vote" tactics, to incorporate election protection action and strategy into this year’s lead-up to the presidential election.

Below are Election Action Resources, and the Ruckus Call for Election Action, urging folks to take strategic, proactive direct action before and on November 4th.  We’ve even put together a comprehensive Action Toolkit that you can download to help your community put together a creative action in these last weeks leading up to election day!

Check it out, and take action!

Election Action Resources:

The Ruckus Society Election Action Memo: Scenarios, Targets and Messaging

The Ruckus Society Action Toolkit

Click here to see Ruckus’s Action Toolkit on the Trick or Vote wiki.

– Send stories for The Ruckus Blog

– Or scroll down to download the PDF

– Advanced (but still easy) actions to take at the Polls:


866-OURVOTE is a central source of information needed to protect the vote, including the registration and identification guidelines for each state. This site is also covering the legal side of election protection!

Twitter Vote Report is a space to do a quick and easy report of how your voting experience is going. The most important part of this is the change to Twitter in calls for Election Protection support.

– In terms of educating voters, Generation Vote has developed an amazing youth agenda and voter guide which is vetted and on-point. Also check-out a community developed ballot for your community at

– Where to vote:

No More Stolen Elections will be issuing some immediate reports!

 – Election Defense Alliance has advanced Election Day/Night tips to protect the vote!


– Poll watchers are still needed in many locations around the country. In some places poll workers are also still needed. Poll workers handle checking names and deciding who can and can’t vote, and in most states it’s too late to score this all-powerful job. Poll watchers are assigned by various parties to be witnesses, make sure things are functional for a fair election. It makes a big difference to have our folks out there. Google "local county election office" and your zip code or the name of your city to get the number, call it, and go be the eyes on the street.

Video the Vote: Having citizen documentation of voter issues is crucial in terms of being able to prove that our folks are being disenfranchised. It helps on the day of to support media outlets to keep a story live until it’s resolved, and it helps afterwards in terms of show the specific issues. You can be a videographer, drive a videographer, or be a dispatcher. If this sounds like your skillset, go sign up.

Direct Action: For the past couple of elections, folks have threatened to flood the streets and shut their cities down until each vote is counted. So far, those threats have not been followed through on. This election, the registration numbers indicate we’ll have the highest turn-out of our lifetimes. Ruckus has brainstormed a variety of potenti
al scenarios, and the most logical targets and messages we could think of for each of those scenarios.

While we have action experts on call around the country (email if you are available to be an action expert!), and we’ve partnered and developed relationships with several organizations working on election protection. We also want to honor the power of autonomous actions. Get together with your friends, your collectives, your organizations, alliances and coalitions, and take action. We’ve posted our action planning manual, action checklist, action ideas, creative visuals manual and other resources on a wiki and as a downloadable PDF for y’all, so the actions can be effective. Our goal is to have actions prepared to protect our voters, and encourage our politicians and election officials to stand up for election integrity. 

Read below for the Call for Election Action!

A Call for Election Action

Why Action?

All year round, we take amazing, visionary actions in the streets to
escalate the work of communities who are feeling the direct impact of
economic, environmental and racial injustice. The communities we
support and train in action have the right to vote because of the brave
actions of our elders. We’ve had two elections where our
communities have been disenfranchised on a federal level, with very
little evidence that the problems of those elections have been fixed.
We’re already hearing about thousands of names being purged from
voter rolls. A record turn-out is expected, which is exciting – but will
likely overwhelm a shaky system.

Many of you have spent the past year organizing in communities.
Some of you have been registering voters, educating voters, and
mobilizing them to come out to the polls. Now, it’s time to protect
those voters.

We need actions today, on election day, and – if there are ANY
problems with this election – we need to be ready to take action to
empower our decision makers to make sure every single vote gets

We recognize that most of the communities we care about are at
capacity working on their day to day issues. We’re here to make sure
that the actions we need to take are possible – we’re providing an
online electoral action kits, scenarios and potential targets around the
election, action gear, action experts, and are available for any other
kind of deep support folks need.

No More Stolen Elections!!

Download Document: Ruckus Election Action