DENVER — Beverly Grant spent years juggling many roles before yoga helped her restore her balance.
When not doting over her three children, she hosted her public affairs talk radio show, attended community meetings or handed out cups of juice at her roving Mo’ Betta Green MarketPlace farmers market, which has brought local, fresh foods and produce to this city’s food deserts for more than a decade.
Her busy schedule came to an abrupt halt on July 1, 2018, when her youngest son, Reese, 17, was fatally stabbed outside a Denver restaurant. He’d just graduated from high school and was weeks from starting at the University of Northern Colorado.
“It’s literally a shock to your system,” Grant, 58, said of the grief that flooded her. “You feel physical pain and it affects your conscious and unconscious functioning. Your ability to breathe is impaired. Focus and concentration are sporadic at best. You are not the same person that you were before.”
In the midst of debilitating loss, Grant said it was practicing yoga and meditation daily that helped provide some semblance of peace and balance. She had previously done yoga videos at home but didn’t get certified as an instructor until just before her son’s death.
Yoga then continued to be a grounding force when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. The lockdown orders in Colorado sent her back to long days of isolation at home, where she was the sole caregiver for her special-needs daughter and father. Then, in April, her 84-year-old mother died unexpectedly of natural causes. “I’ve been doing the best that I can with facing my new reality,” said Grant.
As a Black woman, she believes yoga can help other people of color, who she said disproportionately share the experience of debilitating trauma and grief — exacerbated today by such disparities as who’s most at risk of COVID-19 and the racialized distress from ongoing police brutality such as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
While the country still needs much work to heal itself, she wants more people of color to try yoga to help their health. She said the ancient practice, which began in India more than 5,000 years ago and has historical ties to ancient Africa, is the perfect platform to help cope with the unique stressors caused by daily microaggressions and discrimination.
“It helps you feel more empowered to deal with many situations that are beyond your control,” said Grant.
She teaches yoga with Satya Yoga Cooperative, a Denver-based group operated by people of color that was launched in June 2019, inspired partly by the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. The co-op’s mission: Offer yoga to members of diverse communities to help them deal with trauma and grief before it shows up in their bodies as mental health conditions, pain and chronic disease.
“When I think about racism, I think about stress and how much stress causes illness in the body,” said Satya founder Lakshmi Nair, who grew up in a Hindu family in Aurora, Colorado. “We believe that yoga is medicine that has the power to heal.”
Satya’s efforts are part of a growing movement to diversify yoga nationwide. From the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance to new Trap Yoga classes that incorporate the popular Southern hip-hop music style to the Yoga Green Book online directory that helps Black yoga-seekers find classes, change appears to be happening. According to National Health Interview Survey data, the percentage of non-Hispanic Black adults who reported practicing yoga jumped from 2.5% in 2002 to 9.3% in 2017.
Nair seeks to plant the seeds for more: The co-op is trying to make classes more accessible and affordable for people of color. It offers many classes on a “pay what you can” model, with $10 suggested donations per session. Satya also hosts two intensive yoga instructor training sessions for people of color per year, with hopes to offer more, in an effort to diversify the pool of yoga providers.
A Unique, Healing Experience
Blacks and Latinos consistently top national health disparities lists, with elevated risks for obesity and chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, which has made them more susceptible to contracting and dying of COVID-19. They also face an elevated risk for depression and other mental health conditions.
Yoga is obviously not a panacea for racism, but it has shown positive results in helping people manage stress, and as a complement to therapeutic work on trauma.
Satya co-op member Taliah Abdullah, 48, said stress brought on by a toxic work environment and family problems inspired her to finally attend classes. The effect was so life-changing that she enrolled in Satya’s teacher training.
“I didn’t know I needed this, but it’s really changed my life for the better,” she said. “I feel like now I have the tools and the toolbox that I need to better navigate the world as a woman of color.”
At a Saturday morning class Grant led before the pandemic hit, five Latina and Black women and a lone Black man sat atop colorful yoga mats in a half-circle around Grant with smoke billowing around them from a copal-scented incense stick.
Grant spoke in hushed tones during the hourlong session, leading them through cat-cow, downward dog and boat poses. The theme was more spiritual than physical, more relaxing than vigorous, as illustrated by the mantra she used to begin the class: “We are resilient, we are grounded, we are complete. And the spirit of love is in me.”
First-time attendee Ramon Gabrielof-Parish, 42, a Black professor at Naropa University in Boulder, became so relaxed that at one point he began snoring. He said that after an exhausting week he appreciated the serene vibe.
Sarah Naomi Jones, 37, who graduated from Satya’s training, said the co-op provides a safe space to bond, vent and heal — a very different vibe from predominately white yoga spaces where many people of color often feel unwelcome. She said she felt that icy reception when, as a Black yoga newbie, she attended an intensive yoga class mostly filled with white attendees.
“When I walked in, it was kind of like, ‘What are you doing here?’” recalled Jones. “The spiritual component was totally missing. It wasn’t about healing. It felt like everyone was there just to show off how much more stretchier they were than another person.”
Moving Forward in New World
Denver-based Black yogi Tyrone Beverly, 39, said the growth of yoga among people of color is a sign of yearning for more inclusivity in the practice. His nonprofit, Im’Unique, regularly hosts “Breakin’ Bread, Breakin’ Barriers” yoga sessions with a diverse mix of attendees followed by a meal and discussion on topics such as police brutality, racism and mass incarceration.
“We believe that yoga is a great unifier that brings people together,” he said.
Because of the pandemic, Beverly has moved all his events and classes online for the foreseeable future as a safety precaution. Satya took a brief hiatus of in-person classes, Grant said, but now offers some classes outdoors in parks in addition to daily online classes. Grant said that during the pandemic, even online classes could make a difference for individuals.
“That’s the beauty of yoga,” Grant said. “It can be done in a group. It can be done individually. It can be done virtually and, most importantly, it can be done at your own pace.”
As an 18-year-old student attending a training session for activists at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee, John Lewis stuttered and struggled to read. A visiting professor mocked his stammered speech and “poor reading skills” and dismissed Lewis’ potential as a “suitable leader” for the burgeoning movement.
Famed activist and organizer Septima Clark rose to his defense and her support of Lewis paid off.
The unassuming teenager from the backwoods of Troy, Alabama, became a giant of the Black freedom struggle and, ultimately, would go on to serve more than three decades in Congress. He died on July 17.
Enthralled by ‘Social Gospel’
Lewis enrolled in American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, mainly because it charged no tuition, but also due to the profound moral calling that he felt in his life. It was in Nashville where Lewis grew fascinated with the potential of the Social Gospel – a theoretical movement that applied Christian principles to addressing social problems such as poverty and white supremacy.
He soon came under the tutelage of James Lawson, a graduate student at Vanderbilt who was fully immersed in the doctrines of non-violence. Lawson trained other notable activists such as Diane Nash, James Bevel and Bernard Lafayette – all friends and contemporaries of Lewis.
The student activism that emerged from southern Black colleges beginning in February of 1960 was the catalyst that the modern civil rights movement desperately needed to confront segregation. The thrust of direct-action protests, such as sit-ins and Freedom Rides, provided the dramatic confrontation that the earlier bus boycotts did not.
However, it was Lawson’s young pacifist disciples from Nashville that heavily influenced the ideology of the early student movement. It also aided in the creation of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, better known as SNCC.
In dedicating his life to the movement as a young student, Lewis willingly gave up the comforts, experiences and accoutrements of a typical college student. Instead of gaining traditional work experience, Lewis got an insider’s look at numerous southern jails and prisons. His activism led to 40 arrests between 1960 and 1966.
Late-night bull sessions with his fellow SNCC activists who debated the proper path towards freedom became his laboratory. Sit-ins and Freedom Rides served as his examinations. They often resulted in beatings and bloodshed.
Lewis and other SNCC organizers were forced to swallow a bitter pill during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech became a focal point, it was Lewis’ speech that drew the most controversy.
Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle, along with march organizer Bayard Rustin, forced Lewis to change his original draft that placed a heavy critique on the slow response of the Kennedy administration in protecting the civil and human rights of activists in the Deep South. The edit prompted Malcolm X to derisively refer to the event as “The Farce on Washington.” It was not the last ideological scrum SNCC would have with liberals and moderates.
During the Democratic National Convention in 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, or MFDP, arrived in Atlantic City, New Jersey, expecting to be the duly recognized delegation from the Magnolia State in place of the all-white delegation of the party that had used violence and intimidation in an attempt to keep Blacks from the polls.
Famed activist Fannie Lou Hamer declared that “if the MFDP is not seated now, I question America.” The party was not seated. A backroom compromise – orchestrated between traditional Black moderates such as NAACP head Roy Wilkins, SCLC organizer Bayard Rustin and Dr. King – left many younger activists bitter and broken. “This was the turning point of the civil rights movement,” Lewis declared. “We had played by the rules, done everything we were supposed to do, had played the game exactly as requested, had arrived at the doorstep, and found the door slammed in our face.”
A year after the disappointment of Atlantic City, the learning curve would continue for Lewis.
As bitter as he and other SNCC activists were about the fallout from the 1964 Democratic Convention, Lewis was still a committed ideologue who held fast to his belief in non-violence as a way of life. That position grew increasingly unpopular with younger activists who championed their constitutional right to armed self-defense in the face of tyranny.
Many SNCC activists grew wearisome of the practical politics, moderation and compromise that some (including Lewis) argued produced setbacks within the movement. This frustration was on full display during Lewis’ most famous moment – the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965. SNCC’s executive committee had voted against the organization’s involvement because they saw such protest marches as largely ineffective. Lewis participated anyway. The result was “Bloody Sunday,” a horrific display of white terrorism that served as a springboard for the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year. The world watched in horror as television cameras captured the moment that Lewis and hundreds of other peaceful protesters were teargassed, beaten and trampled by state troopers.
Like many committed activists, the social and political education of John Lewis had numerous twists and turns – from a wide-eyed and eager disciple of nonviolence (a commitment that never wavered) to a seasoned activist and organizer whose heroics and courage made him an icon of the movement. That journey came with bumps and bruises – both literally and figuratively – and he would later employ some of those lessons as a United States congressman representing the 5th Congressional District of Georgia for 33 years. In this role, Lewis would champion legislation that upheld the ideals that made him an icon of the movement. He sponsored or co-sponsored thousands of bills targeting poverty, gun violence, civil rights, health care and reform of America’s justice system, just to name a few. He became an award-winning author, and he was lionized as “the conscience of Congress.”
While Lewis learned the fine art of negotiating during his years as a movement leader, he never compromised in his insistence for justice and equality for all. In a tweet from 2018, Lewis implored young idealists and activists to “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Lewis remained a noise maker and a “drum major for peace” until his final days, and his courage and sacrifice should be an inspiration for us all.
In 2005, a documentary called Into Great Silence was released, which portrayed life in a monastery in the French Alps. The director Philip Groening spent months living with the monks, where after a few weeks of silence and solitude, he developed a new sense of awareness.
The quietness and inactivity of the monastic way of life had an awakening effect on him. He began to live wholly in the present, and seemingly mundane objects became intensely real and beautiful.
At the moment, during lockdown, we may not be living like monks, but we are certainly living restricted lives. Some of us may find the lack of hustle and bustle unsettling. We’re so accustomed to background white noise that when it ceases we may feel uneasy.
Quietness and solitude can also expose us to discord in our minds, which start to chatter away, creating a sense of disturbance. Negative thoughts and feelings emerge – especially during uncertain times, when there are urgent and real concerns about job security, family members and financial stability.
But as I show in my book Back To Sanity, once we get used to living more slowly, quietness can sometimes be strangely therapeutic, and help us cope with difficult moments.
The positive aspects of confinement
And while many of us are understandably finding our present predicament extremely challenging, I believe we can learn something from retreat techniques which might help.
Of course, this may not be possible for everyone. People who live in isolated or crowded conditions or who are in turbulent relationships may find it much harder. It’s partly a question of temperament too. People who are naturally introverted and reclusive will find the lockdown easier to deal with than people who are more extroverted.
But there are certain practices we can try to follow which will help us to learn from retreats how to better deal with the changed lives we are leading. Here are five tips:
Acceptance. If you keep thinking about how great your life was before the lockdown, and about how awful it is now, then you will feel frustrated and unhappy. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard is: “If you can’t change a situation, stop resisting it. Just accept it.” So tell yourself that this is the way things are, that this is your life for the time being. Don’t fight the situation – embrace and accept it.
Live in the present. Don’t think too much about the past or the future. Just live from moment to moment, taking each day as it comes. Pay attention to your experience on a moment to moment basis. Be mindful. Look out of your window or go into your garden (if you have one) and look around slowly, paying attention to everything which comes into your range of vision. Do the same when you go out shopping or for exercise, and when you eat.
Appreciate the small things. This is the time to appreciate the things in our lives which we are normally too busy to notice. It’s the time to appreciate food and drink, the natural world around us, the sky, the stars and the people who are close to us. Above all, we should feel gratitude for life itself.
Trust yourself. One thing my psychology research has taught me is that human beings are much stronger than we think. There are reserves of resilience inside us which we only become aware of when we are challenged or face difficulties. Even if you think you can’t cope with a situation, you will be surprised to find that you can.
Reframe the situation. It’s not going to last forever, and it may be a long time before anything like it happens again. Don’t think of the lockdown as imprisonment – think of it as a spiritual retreat. Some people go on meditation retreats or yoga holidays to feel rejuvenated. Now many of us are on an enforced retreat from our normal hectic, stressful lives.
In my role as a psychologist, I have become aware of the therapeutic power of these practices. At the end of this period of retreat, we may return to our normal lives feeling more human. We may become more centred in the present, and less focused on the future. We may become more aware of the beauty of our surroundings, rather than giving all our attention to tasks and activities.
Instead of losing ourselves in our roles and responsibilities, we may become attuned to our authentic selves. And rather than looking for happiness outside us, by buying and doing things, we may find a simple contentment emerges naturally just from being.
“Follower of Jesus.” A follower of Jesus myself, I normally like to see those words on someone’s Twitter profile. Lately, however, I’m reluctant to scroll down for fear that this same follower has cussed out a politician on the social media platform or tweeted nasty things at a person they disagree with.
How can people who claim Jesus as Lord act so mean?
First, we often think that because we are fighting for the right things — justice, truth, righteousness — that it doesn’t matter how we say what we say. The Apostle Peter, no stranger to impulsive talk, has a tip for us. He urged first-century believers to “have an answer for everyone for the hope that lies within you” but to do this with “gentleness and kindness.” In other words, civility and courage are not enemies, but friends. The loudest person in the room or online is not necessarily the most courageous.
Second, we go off the rails online because we forget the humanity of the person on the other end of that tweet. That person we are calling out or punching at rhetorically is not a mere avatar to be crushed, but a person, made in the image of God. Those with whom we disagree are not the sum total of their opinions. James, Jesus’ brother and another leader in the first-century church, urges us to consider the imago dei of the other before we unleash a verbal assault.
Third, we often abandon kindness because politics has replaced religion as the primary driver of our discourse. We may have Jesus in the bio, but it’s the Republican or Democratic Party that is really in our hearts.
The collapse of religious institutions and the decline of church attendance have created a vacuum that politics is only too ready to fill. But politics makes for a disappointing god. It only takes and will never fully satisfy the longings of the heart.
How do we know we are worshipping at the altar of the 24/7 political cycle? When we make every argument a political one. When every aspect of life becomes read through a narrow ideological lens. When every criticism of our candidate is perceived as an attack on our hero. When we turn a blind eye to the misdeeds of leaders in our ideological camp.
As we muddle through the coming election season and a global pandemic that has divided Americans, Christians will be more tempted than ever to abandon civility.
Christians should engage in politics, but we should do so out of responsibility. Politics should be a way to love our neighbors, to use our voices and votes to shape the world in which our neighbors live. We should hold our party affiliations loosely, refusing to give temporal institutions a primacy and authority reserved for the Bible.
As members of God’s kingdom, we are indeed “strangers and exiles,” as Peter wrote. We should always sense a dissonance between our temporal, earthly allegiances and the kingdom of God. Temporal kingdoms and leaders will only disappoint us. Our faith should shape our politics rather than our politics shape our faith.
Kindness and civility shouldn’t be confused with a syrupy niceness that refuses to take a stand against injustice and for the vulnerable. The Bible is full of prophets who refused to be silent.
Yet, we should engage with humility, holding our ideas and our opinions loosely and not taking ourselves too seriously. We should start seeing folks on the other side of the aisle not as enemies to be vanquished, but as people who may have good ideas. We are not always right about everything all the time. It’s our own prejudices and biases, in fact, that lead us to believe the worst about our ideological opponents.
Instead, we should do as James instructed: be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. In an internet age, we might repurpose his words as: be quick to read the whole story, slow to post and slow to outrage.
That’s what we should commit to when we put Jesus in our bio, and it should be evident in the words we post on our timelines.
(Daniel Darling is the senior vice president of National Religious Broadcasters and is the author of eight books, including most recently, “A Way With Words: Using Our Online Conversations for Good.” The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)
The article originally appeared on ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom.
New From ProPublica and The Atlantic
How Voter-Fraud Hysteria and Partisan Bickering Ate American Election Oversight
The federal Election Assistance Commission has neglected key responsibilities or ceded them to other agencies — and two of its four commissioners are parroting the president’s unfounded warnings about vote by mail. Read the story.
Voting During a Pandemic
An Alabama poll worker who worked during last week’s runoff has been hospitalized with COVID-19; the state did not require voters to wear masks to vote. At least three poll workers in Texas’ McLennan County tested positive for coronavirus after working the polls; one is hospitalized. One worker estimated between 10 and 15% of voters weren’t wearing masks; the state exempted polling places from its mask mandate. (WBRC, Waco Tribune-Herald)
The Kansas secretary of state said voters won’t be turned away for not wearing a mask to the polls during the state primary. The governors of Michigan and Tennessee said masks would be encouraged, but not required, to vote in upcoming elections. (Kansas.com, Detroit Free Press, Knoxville News Sentinel)
During Geogia’s prrimary, the majority of the polling places that stayed open late were in majority non-white communities. (GPB News)
The current housing crisis and a coming wave of evictions could disrupt access to the ballot; displaced voters will have to register to vote at their new address. (Fast Company)
Preparing for In-Person Voting in the Fall
Poll worker shortages are a problem across the country; officials in Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and Tennessee have recently sounded the alarm. (NBC Connecticut, WLKY, WXYZ, KSTP, WKNO)
The Nevada secretary of state says she doesn’t have the funds to run an all-mail election in the fall, and plans to return to in-person voting. (Las Vegas Review Journal)
North Carolina’s top elections official issued an order requiring a minimum number of early voting sites across the state. The order also says poll workers will have to wear masks, but voters won’t. (Associated Press)
Maryland election officials and advocates are critical of the governor’s plan for the general election to be held primarily in-person; the Baltimore election director called it a “setup for failure.” The governor said the plan offers flexibility to voters, and blamed the debate on “partisan politics.” (Baltimore Sun)
With limited access to mail voting, Mississippi will rely heavily on in-person voting. Legislators went against the secretary of state’s proposal to expand mail voting, and also decided against giving election workers hazard pay. (Clarion Ledger)
The pandemic could dampen college student turnout in California this fall. (KQED)
Because of the pandemic, more than 300,000 immigrants may not become citizens in time to vote, including 5,000 in Arizona. (The Arizona Republic)
Vote by Mail News
At least 76% of U.S. voters will be eligible to cast a mail ballot in the fall, according to a new analysis. (The Washington Post)
Per a Pew survey, about two-thirds of Americans believe voters should be able to vote absentee or early without a documented excuse. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 49% of Americans think mail voting is susceptible to fraud. (Pew Research, ABC News)
The Brookings Institution rated each state on its current vote by mail systems; only six states and the District of Columbia received an A rating. (Brookings)
The Iowa secretary of state will send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters for the general election. (CBS2 Iowa)
The Tennessee secretary of state said he opposes drop boxes for absentee ballots, claiming they posed a security issue. (AP)
The governor of West Virginia said that widespread vote by mail would be unlikely in the fall. (WV Metro News)
The D.C. Board of Elections agreed to send all registered voters a mail ballot ahead of the November election. (DCist)
President Donald Trump continued his unfounded attacks on mail voting, and worried Republican officials are reportedly asking his campaign to convince him to change his tune. (CNN)
Mail Voting Problems
Five Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the postmaster general asking him to explain the USPS’ plan to manage a huge increase in mail ballots. (Vox)
New York’s potentially high mail ballot rejection rate during the primary doesn’t bode well for the fall. Three weeks after the primary votes were still being counted, with no running count of vote totals. (The Intercept, Vice News, The New York Times)
New York City passed legislation in 2016 to create an online tracking system for absentee ballots, but the board of elections never implemented it. (Gotham Gazette)
A caveat in Tennessee’s voting law could prevent those who live in nursing homes and long-term care homes from voting absentee. (The Tennessean, ABC10)
Alaska Republicans sent out 22,000 absentee ballot applications with incorrect information prefilled on the forms. (Anchorage Daily News)
Vote by mail is worsening partisan rifts among officials in Michigan. (MLive)
Facebook said it would label posts from all presidential candidates about mail voting, regardless of whether the posts contain misinformation. (Axios)
Election Law News
Alabama: Voters won’t need an excuse to vote absentee in the fall, though they will need to provide ID and witness signatures. (WHNT, Sam Levine)
Georgia: State agencies have done little to clarify rules about voting eligibility for ex-felons who haven’t paid all their fines. If they don’t get the necessary paperwork in order to register to vote or cast a ballot, they risk prosecution. (WABE)
Idaho: The county clerk from the state’s most populous county wants the legislature to hold a special session to consider election legislation before the fall. (KTVB)
Kentucky: The secretary of state is working on cleaning up the voter rolls to remove deceased and nonresident voters. (WTVQ)
Michigan: Lawmakers aim to hold an urgent hearing on legislation that would allow clerks to start processing ballots before Election Day. (WILX)
Mississippi: The governor signed a bill that allows voters to cast an absentee ballot if a doctor asked them to quarantine or if they’re caring for someone under quarantine. (Daily Journal)
New York: Legislators reached a deal on automatic voter registration. (NY1)
Rhode Island: Lawmakers passed a bill that asks the secretary of state to send all qualified voters a mail ballot in the fall and waive mail ballot witness requirements. (Providence Journal)
The Latest From The Courts
Alabama: A federal appeals court upheld the state’s voter ID law, ruling that it is not racially discriminatory. (AP)
Alaska: Advocacy groups sued over the decision to send out absentee ballots to registered voters over age 65, excluding younger voters. (SitNews)
Arkansas: In a lawsuit over absentee voting, a circuit judge gave plaintiffs a week to prove they’d be harmed by the state’s mail voting practices. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
Florida: Parties reached a settlement over the state’s mail voting procedures. In another case, a judge refused to issue an injunction to order Miami to open more early voting sites. (Tampa Bay Times, CBSMiami)
Maine: Visually impaired voters sued the state over the accessibility of absentee ballots. (Maine Public Radio)
Michigan: An appeals court upheld the state’s identification rules for registering to vote. The ACLU sued Flint over how the city is processing absentee ballot applications. (Detroit Free Press, Michigan Radio)
New York: Candidates and voters filed a lawsuit after the state threw out thousands of ballots due to postmark problems. (Gothamist/WNYC)
North Carolina: A prosecutor doubled charges against a Black North Carolina woman who voted while on probation in 2016 and says she didn’t know she was ineligible. (The Guardian)
Tennessee: A judge upheld the state’s vote by mail laws for the state primary, but said he would consider whether to block them for the general election. A lawsuit was filed to enfranchise felons who were convicted in another state. (AP, AP)
Texas: In a lawsuit, civil rights groups asked the state to change in-person voting to protect voters’ health and prevent disenfranchisement. (Texas Tribune)
National: The Supreme Court’s recent decisions not to intervene in voting rights cases have concerned some experts. Nationwide, at least 151 election lawsuits have been filed through July 15. (The New York Times, USA Today)
Election News From Washington
Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis passed away at age 80 last week. After his death, House Democrats plan to reveal new voting legislation that would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act, one of Lewis’ legacies. (The New York Times, The Hill)
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing on elections yesterday as senators consider whether to provide states more funding for the general election. (CourtHouse News)
President Trump wouldn’t say if he’ll accept this year’s election results, falsely claiming the mail voting will “rig” the election. His comment alarmed experts, who warned of a potential post-election crisis. (The Washington Post, CNN)
“What the president is doing is willfully and wantonly undermining confidence in the most basic democratic process we have,” William A. Galston, chair of the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, told the Post. (The Washington Post)
Matt Masterson, a senior adviser at DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, warned that some city and county election officials have “been sharing passwords over email or default passwords are being used.” (State Scoop)
More than 30 states have asked the National Guard to provide cybersecurity help for the election. (WVIK)