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National Institute for Civil Discourse

Published on 10/26/2020
Actions You Can Take Now:


LWVUS Active Bystander Training (held on Oct 29th)that covered de-escalation techniques to safely address tense situations at polling places, and federal laws that ensure every voter can exercise their right to vote safely.View recording here.

View slide deck here.View active bystander handout here.View voter intimidation explainer here.


Use Your League messaging to inform and build confidence in this Election.Guide people to trusted information (League messages) as they Get Out to Vote and to have patience as they way for results.


Call for Nonviolent Response to Election Results.An overwhelming number of Americans want a nonviolent response to the election results. Citizens are calling on our leaders/candidates to denounce violence and as their followers to do so too(Find out more/sign on here)


Celebrate Election Workers– Starting a nationwide appreciation on Nov 2ndof all those that work the polls to help us vote.Election Trust Projectsponsored by the National Conference on Citizenship and partners is working to build trust in the election process.
Tools and social media graphicshelp make it easy to participate.


Count Every Vote -National Council on Election Integrityis a bipartisan group of political, civic, and government leaders dedicated to upholding the credibility of our democratic process.Sign the pledge demanding that every vote be counted here.
Upcoming Events:
Nov 1, 2020
7pm (Eastern)
6pm (Central)
5pm (Mtn)
4pm (Pacific)
The Search for a Shared American Narrative,America’s Public Forum.Sponsored by Braver Angels, NICD, and Some Books Make Us Free.How does looking at our past inform our present?JoinAlexandra Hudson, Damon Linker, Colin Woodard, and David Blankenhornin a wide-ranging conversation on American identity.Register here.
Nov 9, 2020
1:30 or 8:30pm
12:30 or 7:30pm
11:30am or 6:30 pm (Mountain)
10:30am or 5:30pm (Pacific)
Looking for Some Self-Care After the Election?Join a Whistling in the Dark group!Sponsored by the Kittitas and Skagit Leagues, this is the second round in a series of Cultivating Civic Conversations beginning Nov. 9th. Each week will focus on tips and stories from Brad Montague’s book,Becoming Better Grownupsand theOnBeingpodcast. The groups will meet using Zoom on Mondays at 10:30am and 5:30pm (Pacific.) Participants may switch as their schedules change.To sign up or get more information, email Katherine Murphy
Nov 10, 2020
7pm (Eastern)
6pm (Central)
5pm (Mtn)
4pm (Pacific)
Vanguard:How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Fought for Rights for All.Sponsored by the LWV of Baltimore City and County, featuring Professor Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University.She is the author of several books, her most recent being the title of this presentation.Register here.
Nov 13, 2020
9pm (Eastern)
8pm (Central)
7pm (Mtn)
6pm (Pacific)
The Reunited States, a documentary film, inspired by the bookThe Reunited States of America, written by Mark Gerzon.An inspiring look at bridge-builders who are helping Americans heal across political, racial and cultural divides.Sponsored by the LWV of Snohomish County, partnering with the Seattle-Everett Braver Angels Alliance, as a helpful and healing discussion following the election. The film director, Ben Rekhi, and two of the cast members, Susan Bro and Erin Leaverton, will join us.Register here.
Nov 16, 2020
3pm (Eastern)
2pm (Central)
1pm (Mtn)
12pm (Pacific)
Citizen Leaders Needed to Help Heal our Culture, Communities and Conversations.Sponsored by the Greater Verde Valley League (AZ) and Osher, this program features Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, who will explore the challenges and opportunities facing our democracy at this moment and how we can build bridges across our divides.Register here.
Did You Miss It?Recent Events with links to recordings:

Oct 14, 2020

Electing the President –The Electoral Vote and the National Popular Vote.The San Diego Chapter of the Fulbright Assn. and UC San Diego’s Div. of Global Education hostLWV North County San Diego member, Mary Thompson, LWV San Diego member Jeanne Brown,Professor of Law at Univ. of San Diego Miranda McGowen, and author and political reform advocate Derek Cressman.View here.

Note:Program starts at 2:11;Mary presents the history of the Electoral College at 5:04-14:55; Jeanne presents information about LWV support for the National Popular Vote at 15:02-25:39; Miranda speaks at 25:50; Derek speaks at 43:55; Q&A to 1:25:58.

Oct 15, 2020

Fighting Against Fake News-The Case for News Literacy.Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wheaton (IL)and The Robert McCormick House at Cantigny Park,as part of their Civic Awareness Series.Featuring Peter Adams, Vice President of the News Literacy Projection, fighting against fake news and developing the skills to recognizeand evaluate information in order to become news literate.View here.

Oct 20, 2020

Scenario planning training conducted for the LWV/NICD Network by Jamie Engel, Program Director at theNational Conference on Citizenship.Links to Resource documents will be provided below.View program here.Facilitation guideSlide deck from the session
Note:Resource materials sent after the training included aninfographic on the Electoral College.A question was asked about needing permission to post/use.We communicated with kidsdiscover and received this response:We have confirmed the requested usage of the infographic. This document should be available for free download with the registration of a free account at thislink.

Oct 20, 2020

Coffee & Conversations:Is Outrage Destroying Civil Discourse?Sponsored by the East Brunswick Human Relations Council, featuring Dr. Robert Boatright and Dr. Sylvia Chan-Malik.View here.

Oct 21, 2020

Should We Abolish the Electoral College?A Braver Angels Debate in partnership with the City Club of Cleveland.View here.

Oct 21, 2020

Free to State:The New Free Speech.One in a series ofThe Washington Post | LIVEevents. Re: this topic:Attitudes toward free expression are evolving as more of our discourse takes place online and concerns aboutthe growing preponderance of “lawful but awful” content and discoursemount.Featured guest:Dr. Robert Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago and ‘Chicago Principles,’ a set of guiding principles for free speech on campus.View here.

Oct 28, 2020

Election Cybersecurity:Lessons from Workshops with leaders in all 50 states.Multiple presenters (bi-partisan effort with academics, Dept. of Homeland Security, secretaries of state, political leaders, civic organizations – incl. LWV) report findings of 5-year study on election cybersecurity elements. Recording will be available next week.Agenda here.Extensive resources here.

Oct 28, 2020

Polling and the 2020 Election:From Lessons Learned to New Trends.Sponsored by the LWV of Baltimore City and County, featuring Dr. Mileah Kromer, Dir. of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. Dr. Kromer teaches American politics and research methods at Goucher College.View here.

Oct 29, 2020

5 Days Out:A Roundtable of Election Law Experts:Assessing the landscape in the week before Election Day.Sponsored by Election Law at Ohio State.View here.

Oct 30, 2020

Race, Polarization and Life After the Election.Sixth in series of Johns Hopkins SNF Agora Institute Conversations:Election 2020. (six-week series of webcast conversations that will consider the specific current threats to American democracy and the path forward.)View here.

Shared Resources/Network Support:

Election Season –Summarized takeaways fromOct 29, 2020 LWVUS Bystander training


Using our strength.Reassuring our communities.

If you are an election worker, an election observer, or witness a disturbing event waiting in line, this is good to know:

  • Federal law prohibits intimidation, threats, or coercion that interfere with, or that attempt to interfere with, your right to vote.
  • What does intimidation look like?
    • Armed militia members harassing voters waiting in line
    • Overly aggressive poll observers following voters to their car, taking pictures of them/their license plates
    • Falsely telling voters that if they vote, they will be checked for outstanding warrants or unpaid debts
    • Threatening to call ICE because a voter ‘looks illegal’
    • Aggressively questioning a vote who is speaking another language
    • In some states, residents are allowed to carry guns but cannot use those guns to intimidate voters
  • Guiding principle:If we see an injustice, we have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce that injustice.
  • Intervention assumptions:
    • We have an ethical, social and political obligation to help each other
    • Acting in solidarity with others helps reduce impact of a problematic situation
    • Best way to respond is de-escalation
    • You are there to support what the targeted person wants
    • Practicinghowto respond helps ustorespond when needed.
  • How to prepare yourself:
    • Confirm what you are seeing
    • Be aware of what’s happening around you
    • Don’t assume others will help
    • Don’t go alone; use teamwork
    • Make contact with targeted person
  • Documenting/Social Media
    • Put your phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode
    • Be aware of your surroundings
    • Always record with the phone sideways
    • Keep phone stable; document time/location
    • Check local laws on documenting/recording
  • Principles of Bystander Intervention
    • Show moral courage
    • Intend to de-escalate
    • Shift the attention; ignore the attacker
    • Reach out to the targeted person as an equal
      • Ask if they want help; they’re in charge
  • Note:if this is a dangerous situation, leave the area as quickly as possible and call for help.Do not engage.
  • Use election protection hotlines:1-866-OUR-VOTE or 687-8683

LWVUS Election Resources

2020 Election Season Social Media Materials.Click here.

Democracy Is Worth Waiting For.Short video from Virginia Kase’s blog of the same name.

LWVC Election Resources Information Sheet

Vote by Mail Myth Busters Resource Sheet.Selected items.Thanks to LWVC for this resource.

The Myth of Voter Fraud.Here.

Protecting Public Health in the 2020 Elections.Here.

What is ballot harvesting?Here.

Vote by mail security/integrity data (OR/WA/CO).Here.

2020 Post-Election Message Template.Here.

When Are Ballots Counted?

Sponsored byrepresentUS,here’s a state by state recap of when your state counts the ballots.View here.

Healthy Elections Report

Healthy Elections Project(a project of Stanford-MIT) contains detailedinformation/reports.How is your state doing?Here’s a link to thestate-by-state reportwhich documents where each state stands regarding holding a safe and fair election, with updates as new information is gathered.

More in Commonresearch and reporting

Democracy forPresident.orgis an initiative run byMore in Commonto help provide Americans with unbiased research, guidance and support for what they can do in their local community to strengthen our democracy this election cycle.Their latest report,Democracy for President:A Guide to How Americans Can Strengthen Democracy During a Divisive Electionmay be downloaded at this link.They have two discussion guides which may be downloaded as well:

How to Talk to Voters About Their Election Anxieties

How to Talk to People Who Don’t Think Their Vote Matters

Divided Community Project

Divided Community Project- Ohio State University Moritz College of Law – Toolkit resources that describe specific community engagement and conflict resolution strategies that local leaders can use to identify and address community division and its underlying causes.Link to resources here.

Preparing for Post-Election

Braver Angels

Hold America Togetheris an initiative of Braver Angels to speak for the Union at a time of pending election crisis. We are united by our commitment to keep our country together and in our care for each other as fellow citizens.Link to learn more.

With Malice Toward None.The days following the 2020 presidential election may become the most divisive period in modern U.S. history—no matter who wins.Both sides will worry about how people on the otherside will treat them.Here is thelink to learn more.

Post-Election Resources

The Trust Network:Creating Connections Across Communities.People building peace • before, during and after the 2020 election.Learn more here.

More Post-Election Resources

National Association of Secretaries of State.Here.

Brennan Center for Justice.Here.

Fake News

Fake:Searching for Truth in the Age of Misinformation.Aseries of six outstanding documentaries from Connecticut Public Television.Also, download the valuableGuide to Finding Fakes & Facts.

More Fakes

Spot the Troll Quiz.Thanks to Clemson University for this gem.Here.

Armed Militias at Polling Sites?

Georgetown Law/Inst. for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.The Inst. has createdfact sheets for all 50 statesexplaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if faced with this situation.

Another Resource

Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.Standing By:Right-Wing Militia Groups & the US Election.Respected worldwide resource documenting violence across the globe.View here.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Two candidates for governor of Utah release a joint ad.View here.

More Fresh Air

Hidden Common Ground:Strange Bedfellows.Stories about the ways Republicans and Democrats have found common ground during the contentious 2020 election.View here.

Openness Across Difference

Open Mind Platform.An interactive platform that fosters openness to diverse perspectives and equips people with the skills to communicate constructively across differences.Start here.