And then there were a few. We need not re-hash in this space the many exhausting frustrations of the year 2020 itself, let alone its seemingly interminable election cycle. Instead we can only offer the comforting reminder that this particular phase of the ordeal will soon reach its conclusion. And then we will breathe. For a moment, anyway, before it is time to get back to building the better world we want to see. It may not feel like it now but the work you have put in this year, however small or large, will help us get to where we need to be. For members of New Orleans DSA, it’s pretty easy to find a few highlights. Our national organization just recruited more than 12,000 members in six weeks, and our chapter was one of the top recruiters. In the weeks since, our “No on 2” coalition campaign to save the libraries has brought in dozens of new organizers. It’s not just numbers we need, although we do need them, it’s also the political development that happens when someone actually gets to be a part of democracy for the first time (and no, we don’t mean just voting in municipal elections). Our new members are learning about how to target which voters to canvass, how to persuade a friend to get involved, and the complex relationships, obscure to many, that divide a winning campaign from a loss. It’s natural for novice organizers to stumble or feel humbled by first steps into seizing collective power. With every season, we gain more people, more insight, and more paths to a better world.
But before that, there are a few matters to wrap up. And so it is time again to focus. Runoff elections have lower turnouts than other races, which often makes it easier for incumbents and political insiders to win. But, that also means, it only takes a little motivation and organizing to mount up and push back. In the December runoffs, voters have a chance to push back against the establishment powers that keep us down. Our mayor, along with corporations that seek profit and control at the cost of public well-being, have shown us their intentions on this ballot. They want to slow down changes to our criminal punishment system.They want to keep corporate-controlled charter-friendly candidates on school boards. They want to cut funding for valuable public institutions and hand it over to charlatans and gentrifiers. They want to halt our state's movement towards alternative energy. We don’t have to let them get away with that. We urge you to vote in this election, to pick a reformer for DA, to preserve funding for our libraries, to elect a Public Service Commissioner who will help us move to greener energy, and to vote for school board candidates who will fight for our communities.
The New Orleans DSA has not endorsed any candidates in this election. We are a member-run and funded organization, and our endorsements are material investments of resources. In this guide, we describe candidates openly, wearing our politics on our sleeve. It may be clear which candidate our guide prefers, but we've tried to give you more than just a name to copy down. We hope to connect issues in the races to larger discussions in our city and world, and give a better understanding of the positions and processes of our city and electoral system. This guide is written and researched by volunteers working with the Municipal Action Committee of the New Orleans DSA and is approved by elected chapter leadership.
Using the Guide
You can look up your parish, ward and precinct number on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website or the Geaux Vote app. You can also review your sample ballot, and if you use the Geaux Vote app, fill in your preferences on your phone so you can take it into the booth.
Many candidates answered surveys we sent out to candidates. If an entry is overwhelming for you, it may be easier to read a candidate’s response to our survey at the bottom of their section.
To see the complete list of surveys, click here.
Researching candidates in local elections can be difficult, and we want to acknowledge the community organizations that host candidate forums and organize for people power, including Step Up Louisiana, the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge Community Advisory Group (CAG), Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee (OPDEC), Indivisible NOLA, the Lower 9th Ward Voter's Coalition, Plaquemines Parish Debates, Innocence Project New Orleans, the People’s DA coalition, the Erase The Board Coalition, and Louisiana Charters in Action.
We give thanks and support to local media, including the Lens, the Advocate/Times-Picayune, AntiGravity Magazine, and the Uptown/Gentilly/Mid-city Messengers. We read the AntiGravity harm reduction guide, and are grateful that our city and surrounding parishes have two expansive voter resources. If you have issues with our guide, or think it could be done better, we urge you to work with us on the next one, or make your own! We’d love to read it.
If you find this guide useful, please consider making a donation to our organization, or better yet, joining us.