It is now clear that on January 6th, 2021, we faced a staggering criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. That conspiracy began even before the election. It was orchestrated by Donald Trump and his loyalists, and it continues its obstructionist ways even today.

The January 6th Committee, chaired by Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, is doing an outstanding job presenting the facts to the American people. These are not your normal congressional hearings, and if you haven’t watched them yet you should. They’ve been carefully constructed carefully to not just unearth and present information but to tell the story of what really happened on January 6th. It’s accessible and incredibly engaging.

The full scope of the criminal conspiracy to overturn our elections are being laid out — and the public is listening. Polling data suggest that the hearings are breaking through the noise. Since mid-June, support for uncovering what happened on January 6th has increased — including among Republicans. People are beginning to understand that January 6th involved not only Trump but a broader group of Republican enablers.

That’s important because the criminal conspiracy that tried to violently overturn our elections is ongoing. The attack on the Capitol on January 6th may have ended in failure, but the attack on our freedom to vote has only begun — and it’s growing more powerful and more dangerous every day.

Career elections administrators are being violently threatened and harassed out of their jobs. Sham “audits” have been used to distract, derail and sow doubt in the results of our elections. Voter suppression legislation has made voting in key states much harder, particularly for brown and Black people.

Across the country, Big Lie candidates are running for everything from local county clerk offices to Governor of Pennsylvania. Republican House and Senate candidates are embracing the Big Lie, and if they win, they’d be poised to have the power to do in 2024 what they could not in 2020. Perhaps most terrifyingly, the Supreme Court just took a case that has the potential to radically empower state legislators to dictate the outcomes of federal elections.

Right here in SLO County we can see that same movement threatening local elections officials, attacking our voting rights, attempting to restrict the history our children can learn in school, and criminalizing marginalized people who try to speak out and protest against their abuse.

The MAGA faction on the County Board of Supervisors, desperate to cling to its minority rule, is running a right-wing ideologue against incumbent Supervisor Bruce Gibson in District 2. That race will determine the balance of power on the Board of Supervisors. Will we get four more years of MAGA madness, or will we rebalance our priorities to find solutions to the real problems facing us here at home?

In short, the criminal conspiracy to overturn the election will be on the ballot in November, and SLO County is a local battleground in the national war the GOP is waging against us. The question is, will the voters understand that? And will it impact how they vote?