This new grassroots organization is working to encourage elections officials to count every vote by flooding them with support.
Because of an influx of mail-in ballots, it’s very possible the American public won’t know the results of the presidential election for a while.
Even without the unprecedented number of people who voted by mail, it’s common practice for officials to continue counting votes even after Election Day. This year, continuing the vote count after Nov. 3 will be especially important because of how much is at stake in this election.
Sarah Jakle is a member of a new grassroots organization called Tally Rally, which is working to encourage officials to count every vote. She’s also organized with Field Team Six and the National Organization for Women.
“It has nothing to do with parties,” Jakle said in an interview with COURIER. “It has everything to do with our country and what we stand for as a democracy—that’s where this idea came from.”
For weeks, Republicans have tried to invalidate ballots, remove polling locations, and restrict when ballots can arrive and still be counted.
Jakle and other advocates, however, are encouraging election officials to continue counting no matter what.
The idea for Tally Rally came from looking back at the 2000 election, she said. That year the race between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore was so close, the tally required a recount in Florida. In the month that followed, election officials in charge of the recount were subjected to harassment and protests organized by Republican campaign members.
“We know that in Miami-Dade County, [officials] stopped counting the votes because they were scared,” Jakle explained. “There was violence going on outside their offices; there was intimidation.”
Tally Rally organizers want to avoid a similar mess in 2020 by leveling a more positive campaign: They’re calling for volunteers to mask up and participate in socially distanced demonstrations with encouraging signs outside county election offices.
“We just want to let election officials know that we’re here and we support them until the work is done,” Jakle said. “Certainly in places like Pennsylvania, part of that message is going to be asking for patience.”
Pennsylvania is one of a few states that doesn’t allow election officials to begin counting mail-in or absentee votes until Election Day, which means their results often take longer than in other states. Given the contentious nature of the 2020 election, the public will be understandably anxious for the results.
Patti Crane is a volunteer with Tally Rally and got involved shortly after retiring as CEO from her own company.
“We just think Tally Rally is a wonderful, positive way for people to say, ‘Yep I want my elections official to have all the support they can have and I want voters to have all the time they need to submit their ballot,’” she told COURIER.
Organizers are asking people who want to participate in person to bring things like signs, sidewalk chalk, or even to dress up to encourage officials to continue counting ballots.
“What we love is when people dress up their kids as Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty or a mailbox or a ballot box or you know, even a ballot,” Crane said.
Crane and Jakle both noted that people can participate in Tally Rally in other ways as well. “You can tag your local election officials [on social media] which is a really empowering way to make sure that they see your message of support and excitement,” Jakle said. “They’re going to do their job and count every vote.”
Crane added that counting each and every vote is just as important as casting the vote in the first place.
“Every American’s vote is their voice, and just like I would never want to see anyone’s voice be quashed or diminished, I never want to see anyone’s vote diminished,” Crane said. “Whether I agree with their vote or I disagree with their vote, as an American I believe their vote is precious and must be respected.”
To participate in Tally Rally’s campaign, visit their website to sign up for a shift in your state. You can also use hashtags like #TallyRally, #DownForTheCount, and #ACoupWontDo on social media to encourage officials to count all the votes.