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October 20, 2020 34 min

Baratunde speaks with Sherrilyn Ifill, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund about the very long history of voter suppression, why it still exists (hint: white supremacy and racism), and the current tactics being deployed for the 2020 election.

Show Notes + Links

We are grateful to Sherrilyn Ifill for joining us. 

Follow her at @Sifill_LDF and @NAACP_LDF on Twitter. You can learn more about the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund at

We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at

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Become educated on the systems of oppression so you know the roots and how to fight back.

Two good books to start with for a comprehensive take. 

  • Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi
  • Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B Wells
  • You can buy these books and support local bookstores using our show’s link 

    Understand the Voting Rights Act and how the Shelby decision changed everything.

    Make your voting plan.

    Visit to make your voting plan. This is the organization that LeBron James helped start, and they’ve partnered with a number of groups including Sherrilyn and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 

    Also visit the newly released tool from Vote Save America to get ready with a sample ballot for your area to plan your voting so you can be EFFICIENT at the voting booth. 


    Find out the EXACT requirements of mail-in or absentee ballots in your state and share them so every vote is counted.

    The requirements and directions for voting by mail differ by state. Some require signatures by a witness on the outside of the envelope along with the witness’s address and your signature. Some require using two envelopes when mailing them back. Get the details from a trusted source or from the ballot itself and remind people to triple check these details!

    Be a democracy team captain.

    Take the lead in making sure at least three people you know vote. Follow up with them often until they have voted. Ask each one to do the same!

    Compile key information about voting and vote by mail for your state. Then simplify the directions for those you are taking responsibility for, and share resources with them. Here are two comprehensive and easy to understand sites summarizing the steps for each state: 


  • Finally, offer to provide a witness signature for the mail-in ballot envelope if that’s required, or offer to deliver their ballot to the drop-off location if they are unable to do so themselves.

    Support the polls.

    Bring water, masks, gloves, umbrellas, and other supplies to share with people waiting in long lines to support the polls. If you’re an artist, consider bringing your talents to the public as people wait in line. They will love you for it. 


    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - Mention Making Our Vote Count in the subject line. Also share your citizening on social media using #howtocitizen. 

    We love feedback from our listeners - 

    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.

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