To some degree, I think all of us are legitimately wondering: will voting still determine who has political power in the USA after the next few election cycles? As the NYT reported this morning, what was previously dismissible as right-wing conspiracy theories is now looking like real on-the-ground capacity to steal elections.
I’m writing with an actionable, high return-on-investment way to protect our democracy in 2022 and beyond: County Sheriff Elections. I’m investing $10,000 to Sheriffs for Trusting Communities, would you join me? (ActBlue link)
Republican Sheriffs are a Threat to Democracy
Sheriffs, many of whom were present at the January 6 riots, have led the way in going after nonpartisan election workers and threatening local elections officials. For example, in Wisconsin (one of the most competitive 2022 mid-term states) a sheriff in a swing district attempted to arrest county election officials who refused to decertify 2020 ballots for Joe Biden (Washington Post). This is a tactic that will be repeated in upcoming elections.
In fact, the Trump machine has made sheriffs a critical target in building an anti-democratic infrastructure, including a Claremont Institute fellowship. Sheriffs have already begun actively disrupting legitimate electoral processes and we should expect this to become increasingly frequent – especially in swing districts. We can’t sit on the sidelines and wait for our elections to be hijacked, we need to elect pro-democracy sheriffs ASAP.
The New York Times picked up this story today with a deep-dive into sheriff election fraud:
“The sheriff of Racine County in Wisconsin, the state’s fifth-most-populous county, is trying to charge state election officials with felonies for measures they took to facilitate safe voting in nursing homes during the pandemic.” – 2020 Election Deniers Seek Out Powerful Allies: County Sheriffs
We have a big opportunity in 2022
Historically, 60% of County Sheriff elections have only one candidate running uncontested (source). Usually, it's the Republican incumbent. Democrats have been mostly absent from these races, not to mention competitive. But that is starting to change.
There is a new wave of reform, pro-democracy Sheriffs challenging right wing incumbents in 2022. Thanks to decades of concerted effort and organizing on the ground paired with new national investment in candidate recruitment and campaign infrastructure, we have unprecedented pathways to victory in these races. Sheriffs for Trusting Communities is a national organization focused on sheriff elections that partners closely with local organizations to do this work. Last year in New Orleans, they were key to one of the biggest upsets in Louisiana political history when Susan Hutson defeated the 17 year incumbent Sheriff thanks to deep relational organizing on-the-ground and targeted investments in paid media.
They will be engaged in roughly 20 races around the country this year, all Democratic candidates for Sheriff with a legitimate pathway to victory – and some in key swing districts. These are small $$ races where a little money goes a long way. Some sheriff elections can be won for just $10,000. That’s pretty cheap for preventing a stolen county precinct! This is previously uncontested turf that even minimal investments can make competitive. Because of that, a mid range check into a sheriff election can have a much bigger effect than a much larger check in a high-profile election for a Senator or President.
How you can help
- Join us investing in Sheriffs for Trusting Communities. They are an organization working hand in hand with local organizations across the country, and have an informed viewpoint to see where and when to deploy political resources and spend $$ as strategically as possible. This is the key organization recruiting competitive Sheriff candidates in important counties and building winning campaigns across the country.
- Invest in a specific Sheriff election. If you have a specific region where you’d like to make an impact, the team at Sheriffs for Trusting Communities can let you know more about opportunities in that area and the best ways to contribute.
- Send this to other strategic donors you know. This is a high-ROI way to invest in 2022 down-ballot races that help shut-down the in-progress attempt to steal the 2024 Presidential Election.
If you’re interested in learning more or making a contribution, please email max [at] trustingsherriffs [dot] org.
PS. If you want to learn about our previous work with Sheriffs for Trusting Communities, read our in-depth retrospective blog post here.