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What Can We Do with Elections? Repurposing the Electoral Machine

Participating in elections is both essential and insufficient to the work of building belonging in a society marked by extreme inequality and exclusion. Even as it is understandable why many dismiss an electoral system so beholden to concentrated wealth and power, there is also plenty of evidence that refusal to engage or withholding votes doesn’t get heard either—it just gets people left out.

This session will explore how to make the most out of what electoral seasons and cycles have to offer—within but especially beyond the specific ends of the elections themselves. What unique opportunities for dialogue and organizing does the electoral season open up? Are there resources made available by the election cycle that could be better or more creatively leveraged for broader empowerment? How do we move from a critique of being used by the electoral machine to affirmative strategies for using it for disempowered communities’ own ends?