When the Myth of Voter Fraud Comes for You
Welcome to The Highlighter Article Club! I’m very glad you’re here.
Hi there, loyal readers, and welcome to the 350th issue of The Highlighter, the 100th issue of Article Club, and the first-ever issue of The Highlighter Article Club. I’m really happy you’re here.
Quick #storytime: Seven years ago, I started sharing my favorite articles on race, education, and culture in a weekly newsletter called The Highlighter. Many of you subscribed. Thank you! Then about two years ago, I launched another newsletter, called Article Club, that focused on discussing one outstanding article every month. Many of you subscribed. Thank you!
Everything’s been great with both publications, and I appreciate the community we’ve built in both spaces. But a few months ago, it dawned on me: Aren’t The Highlighter and Article Club sort of similar? Why do two things when one might be better?
So that’s what we’re going to do! Welcome to The Highlighter Article Club.
Our goals will be very familiar to you:
Let’s read the best articles on race, education, and culture
Let’s engage in thought-provoking ideas from a variety of perspectives
Let’s connect with other kind readers and build a thoughtful reading community
And away we go! I’m looking forward to seeing where our reading community will take us. Please feel free to reach out, say hello, and share your hopes.
In fact: Why don’t you do that right now — by leaving a comment below? I’d love to hear where you’re from, how you learned about The Highlighter or Article Club, why you’re a subscriber, and how you’d like our community to grow.
Hey, thank you for doing that!
All right, now it’s time for the main event: revealing our article of the month. Ready?
When the Myth of Voter Fraud Comes For You
I’m pleased to announce that this month, we’ll be reading and discussing “When the Myth of Voter Fraud Comes for You,” by Vann R. Newkirk II. Originally published in The Atlantic last December, and featured in The Highlighter Issue #327, the article explores how far advocates of voter integrity will go to prosecute allegations of voter fraud — even when they don’t really exist.
Here’s my blurb:
You have a better chance of being struck by lightning twice than you do of committing voter fraud. Don’t tell that to Crystal Mason, sentenced for five years in prison for inadvertently casting an ineligible provisional ballot in Texas. Ms. Mason’s prosecution is part of a campaign led by purveyors of the Big Lie, who seek to disenfranchise Black and Latinx people using overt and subtle tactics of fear and intimidation. Author Vann R. Newkirk II writes, “Jim Crow was not imposed by a single stroke. It was built community by community, year by year, ruined life by ruined life, law by law, and lie by lie.” (20 min)
A senior editor at The Atlantic, Mr. Newkirk has covered the battles for voting rights since the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. He was also the host of Floodlines, a narrative podcast about Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Newkirk’s forthcoming book, Children of the Flood, a chronicle of Black America’s fight against climate crises, will be published by Random House.
Does the article sound interesting? If so, I urge you to read it, and if you appreciate it, I invite you to join me and others in our reading community to discuss the piece on Sunday, July 24, 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT. This event will be free, on Zoom, and limited to 24 people. After a quick introduction, we’ll spend most of our time in small, facilitated discussion groups (5-7 people each).
Are you IN?
I hope so! If so, click the button below to sign up. I’ll follow up with more information.
If you’re new to our Article Club, welcome! We look forward to meeting you and having your voice in the conversation. Feel free to reach out with questions. Also, here’s what you can expect this month.
Coming up this month
This week: We’ll sign up for the discussion and start reading the article.
Next week: We’ll annotate the article and share our first impressions.
Thursday, July 14: We’ll listen to Mr. Newkirk’s thoughts on the article.
Sunday, July 24: We’ll discuss the article with fellow Article Clubbers.
3 More Great Articles
The point of this newsletter is not to inundate you with every single great article that I come across. That would be way too many. Rather, in addition to the main article, I’ll recommend just 1-3 more that I feel are worth your time and attention. I’d love to hear which ones resonate with you. Here’s what I found this week:
Lowell Freshmen Face Stigma Due to Lottery Admissions
If you’re not from the Bay Area, Lowell is the elite public high school in San Francisco that before last year admitted students based on “merit.” It’s like Stuyvesant in New York and Latin in Boston. Asian and white students are overrepresented; Black and Latinx students are underrepresented. After the murder of George Floyd and during the pandemic, the board of education rescinded that policy and began to admit students by lottery, like every other school in the district, in an effort to achieve greater equity. The percentage of Black and Latinx students rose. Then racist mayhem ensued. Reporting for their school newspaper, Kelcie Lee and Laura Reyes explain how both students and teachers bullied the more racially diverse new class of students, calling them “lottery kids” and suggesting they were inferior. (8 min)
+ The controversy engulfed the wider community as well. The Daily podcast devoted this episode to explore how the change in the admissions policy led San Francisco voters to oust three board members. Last week, the new board reversed course, reinstating the old admissions criteria.
Anatomy of a Book Banning
When author Dave Eggers found out that a South Dakota school district banned his book, The Circle, he decided to investigate. Among his findings: The school board president, who voted for the ban, has seven children, but none attend schools in the district. Another school board member, who also voted for the ban, was the treasurer of the Family Heritage Alliance and has no children attending the local schools. Most frustrating, though, was the effect on English teachers, many of whom left the district or substituted their regular curriculum for a safer alternative. One said, “I actually apologized to my students at the end of this school year, admitting to them that I didn’t think they got the best of me. I was teaching scared.” (15 min)
Suspending Belief: Abortion and the Right to Regret
“Abortion is hard to write about, hard for many even to talk about,” writes Dr. Christine Henneberg in this tender account, written before last week’s Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade. In the piece, Dr. Henneberg explores her initial judgment when one of her patients shares her complicated feelings of regret after having an abortion. But after reflection, she writes, “Maybe it is simply their way of saying, in those tense, vulnerable moments, something that has nothing to do with politics, something entirely personal: I feel terrible about this. And I know I still need to do it. She may regret it afterwards, at least for a while, maybe even forever. I can still trust her to make her own decision, which no one else — not her boyfriend, not her doctor, not her governor — can make for her. That is, and should always be, her right, and her burden.” (16 min)
Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter Article Club. Hope you liked it. Please feel free ALWAYS to give me feedback — especially this week and over the next few months, as I iterate on and figure out this new newsletter format.
How about right now? 😀
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How did I find Article Club? Could it have been Twitter? I can't remember! But it is so nice to be here, getting to read with and know everyone.
Yes, activate interlocks!