November 10, 2023

Looking Ahead to Election Day 2024

Russ Feingold President

Election Day was just days ago. And it was big. Ohio voters turned out to the polls to vote in overwhelming support of adding an explicit right to abortion to their state constitution. Yet another resounding victory for abortion rights at the ballot box in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. Abortion rights were also top of mind for voters in Kentucky and Virginia, where candidates in support of abortion rights won the KY gubernatorial election and control of the VA General Assembly. These election results are sure to shape the 2024 election cycle.

There were also noteworthy election results down ballot. In Pittsburgh, voters rejected a candidate for County Executive who participated in Trump’s fake elector scheme after the 2020 election. As a result, the county’s Board of Electors will remain in control of folks who support election security and democratic legitimacy. In Philadelphia, voters elected Cherelle Parker as Mayor, the first woman and first Black woman to hold the office. And in Tennessee, incumbent Franklin Mayor Ken Moore won reelection, defeating a challenger who repeatedly associated herself with white supremacy on the campaign trail.

Down ballot races rarely garner the type of media attention that top of the ticket races do, but they can often have a greater impact on our lives and communities. On this note, I want to give a special shout out to a few ACS members who won elections this week. Jimmy Bierman, who is an ACS Next Generation Leader, was elected as Dranesville District Supervisor in Virginia. Jerald Lentini, an ACS Path to the Bench leader, won election to Board of Directors for Manchester, Connecticut. Shammas Malik, a former ACS Student Chapter Leader, was elected as the Mayor of Akron, Ohio. And Pierre Saint-Perez, a former ACS Student Chapter Leader, won election to the Ithaca City Council in New York.

ACS applauds all its members who ran for election, whether they won or not, and encourages those who did not run this time around to consider it. When asked who might make a good candidate for public office, we often think of our friends first. I’m asking you to think of you, and as TN Representative Justin Pearson said at our National Convention back in May, whatever your reason for not running, “run anyway.” You may not always win, but “run anyway.”

While Election Day 2023 was mere days ago, we are already looking ahead to Election Day 2024. I don’t have to tell you that next year is a behemoth of an election cycle. Our country is in a struggle between securing the promise of a multiracial democracy and succumbing to authoritarianism. Next year’s election could determine the outcome. That’s why I’ll say it now and will say it again and again between now and next November, this is no time to be on the sidelines.

Election Day 2024 may be nearly a year away, but there is something you can do today to protect election security, voting rights, and our democratic legitimacy: take our pledge to serve as a poll worker in this next election cycle.

Poll workers are essential for the functioning of our elections, including both the primaries and the general. Their specific responsibilities can differ by locality, but generally include answering voter questions, setting up polling places, verifying voter registration, and helping to issue ballots. Polling places cannot operate without poll workers, which is why the shortage of poll workers in recent years has been so concerning and consequential. A shortage of poll workers has resulted in long lines at polling places and even in the closure of some polling places during previous election cycles. We are trying to prevent that from happening in 2024.

Lawyers, law students, and folks with election experience make excellent poll workers. This is why we specifically encourage ACS members to take our pledge and to serve. That said, you do not need to be a lawyer or a voting rights expert to be a poll worker. States and localities will provide folks with all the information needed to be a poll worker.

In 2022, over 300 people took our pledge to serve as poll workers. For 2024, our goal is to have at least 500 people take our pledge and serve. Poll workers are not just important to an election, they are necessary.

If you are concerned about the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism in this country, serving as a poll worker is a critical way you can help ensure democracy prevails. Take our pledge today. And after you do, share the pledge with your friends and family and encourage them to take it too.