Step 1: Form an Election Protection Group (EPG)
Identify 5 to 12 people that are concerned about the election and ask them to join with you as an Election Protection Group, so you can support each other and make decisions quickly as circumstances evolve. If you have already done past organizing with them before, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too; but you should have some knowledge and trust with your EPG members. Your first act of activism is organizing this group.
You can find guidance on starting an election protection group (EPG) in Part III of Hold the Line: A Guide to Defending Democracy, which offers a four-step process on how to do so.
WWFOR can also provide guidance, training, and assistance, within available resources.
Step 2: Connect your EPG with others for cohesion and coordination
Register your group and a contact for your group with WWFOR at :
Sign up with the Protect the Results Coalition at:
Step 3: Choose 1-2 Key Constituencies to Focus on
Choosing 1 or 2 “key constituencies” that you will focus on: either elected officials, or police and military. It’s often good to begin by focusing your energies narrowly.
Once you’ve chosen the constituency you will focus on, review carefully the public commitments for that constituency and make sure everyone in your group understands those commitments and that they make sense to you.
Step 4. Identify Specific Individuals within Your Chosen Category
The next task is to identify specific individuals you will focus on, within your chosen constituency. Some internet research can reveal who the public officials are for elections in your county and in Washington state. Likewise, you can identify who your city chief of police is, your county Sherriff, and officials in the national guard in the state. For a list and background information on public officials, you may want to target, take a look at Part III (Step 2) of Hold the Line: A Guide to Defending Democracy.
Once you have developed your list of targeted individuals, create a public google spreadsheet where you list them and their names next to the commitments you want them to make.
Step 5. Develop a Plan to Sequence Your Tactic(s)
One of the most important lessons from the successful civil-rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, organizing in a defacto apartheid society with white supremacist terrorists in power, was to maintain nonviolent discipline and to carefully plan actions as campaigns, not just one protest at a time. See https://staging.wwfor.org/movement-building-is-a-party/.
The WWFOR is helping to develop a coordinated plan of action with other organizations. Our emphasis is to develop, train and promote small groups to take nonviolent direct action. In addition, we are developing a “conditional pledge” campaign that will bridge tactics of protest/persuasion with tactics of noncooperation. Stay tuned for further information on this concept.
Step 6. Prepare for the Initial Response
We don’t know whether or when the call will go out that groups must mobilize. But the research on coups shows that the speed, as well as breadth, of the public response is key to whether the coup attempt is foiled. Thus, it is critical that our initial actions be easy, quick, and public.
We have a suggested Initial Response Action that meets these criteria.
Prepare for the Initial Response: Mass Decentralized Street Corner Rallies
EPG’s must be prepared to act quickly when action is called in response to various “triggers” signaling a power grab or refusal to leave office after an election loss. Many people will imagine that a protest will necessarily take place in a mass, centralized downtown location. But such actions are vulnerable to violent flanks, agents provocateurs and are not safe for many supporters. Thus, we are planning mass, decentralized actions by EPG’s to occur on many, many street corners, far less vulnerable and far more accessible.
As soon as November 4th, or soon thereafter; while momentum builds for further actions we will build momentum by coordinated, small, local, family-friendly public actions. EPG’s of 5 to 12 will sign up to take a nearby street corner, hold a U.S. flag, and homemade signs saying “Count Every Vote” to show that ordinary citizens will not sit idly by while our democracy is destroyed. These protests can continue while planning is underway for further actions.
Step 7. From Action to Campaign
The choice of tactics after the initial response will depend largely on the circumstances that evolve. For greater impact the tactics should escalate and, if possible, be coordinated. For further ideas, see the following resources.
- Hold the Line and Commitment to Uphold Democracy Guide tops the list, drafted by Erica Chenoweth, Maria Stephans, Daniel Hunter et. al.
- 7 Tactics to Stop a Coup by Daniel Hunter
- This articleby George Lakey of ChooseDemocracy.us offers tactic ideas for a public commitments campaign.
- Here is a list of “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action” by Gene Sharp
- Here is a list of guidelines for various kind of tactics by Beautiful Trouble
Step 8. From Protest to Noncooperation
Research done on historical examples of coup attempts that were successfully thwarted show several critical ingredients:
- A growing majority percentage of public opinion decides the coup is illegitimate.
- The movement maintains a nonviolent discipline, even in the face of repression.
- Public protest leads to mass noncooperation and/or critical sectors withdrawing support for the coup
WWFOR intends to develop a “conditional pledge” campaign, if necessary, to help us turn from “tactics of protest/persuasion” (marches, rallies, symbolic protest) to “tactics of noncooperation” (strikes, boycotts, tax resistance, etc.). Stay tuned for further developments.
Our friends at Beautiful Trouble have launched a Resistance Hotline. The Resistance Hotline provides trustworthy one-on-one support for action planning & training needs. Post your question and within 24 hours, one of their vetted, seasoned direct-action experts will respond to you. You can keep your question as vague (“How do we do a freeway banner to let folks know when the registration deadline is?”) or as specific (“Right Wing aggressors are planning to disturb voting at our local polls. How do we creatively de-escalate? Help!”) as you feel comfortable posting. Call Now! 1-844-NVDA-NOW. Resistance Hotline on facebook.