Recently, a rising sentiment among some political critics calls for the minimization, if not the dissolution, of the local American voting precinct. At times described prophetic, this group perceives the recent election’s results as a lack of positive effect generated by our smallest democratic unit. But instead of asking for the means to strengthen precincts, as we might imagine, their projected model is something akin to a passkey by which--through their proposed reduction--only the correct few will have access to higher up political arenas.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s many Blacks have been loyal and consistent voters, albeit at levels that need to increase. During our most recent elections and other elections going back to the sixties, many Black voters have questioned whether their votes would make a difference, and if so, what they would get as a result of electing people to office. In other words, are rewards of voting equal to the value of voting?
Educate, organize and mobilize: Although the results of Tuesday’s General Election are very disappointing, they have given us a real measurement of our task ahead. I don’t have any empirical data to prove the exact results of our mobilization to get-out-the-vote in the Black community; several reports indicate that Black voter participation was down slightly from the 2012 General Election. Unfortunately, our efforts were not enough to deliver victory to Senator Kay Hagan. Additionally, I don’t yet have the empirical data to prove the exact effects of voter suppression on this election. However, many incidents were reported that suggest that the effect was substantial. Kay Hagan may very well have won had Black and other votes not been suppressed.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Necessarily, this is my last column before the November 4th General Election. The outcome of this election and voter suppression is in your hands. Please continue your outreach by emailing your contacts and posting to your Facebook friends asking and reminding them to vote. It’s important to vote against Republicans because they are the advocates that are committed to voter suppression and preventing Black voters from voting at all. There is no reason for Black voters to vote for a Republican except in very unusual circumstances. The one circumstance in this year’s election is the choice for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Many of us remember the five famous words from the movie Apollo 13 “Huston we have a problem”. Looking at the extreme conservatives on our County Boards of Education on up to the majority in the General Assembly, I must make an obvious statement. “North Carolina, we have too many problems.” Let us take a look at a few serious problems from our state legislative leaders:
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Again, if you’re not already registered you cannot vote in this year’s General Election. If you follow the news, you already know that the National and North Carolina Republican Parties are engaged in the most massive voter suppression campaign in 100 years. They’ve won several court victories that allow them to block the votes of millions of citizens nationwide. Today, we’re playing and losing the game of catch-up in our efforts to defeat voter suppression. To avoid losing this election cycle we need a massive voter turn-out and we need all of our readers to be a part of it. In addition to voting and volunteering to help a party or candidate over the next two weeks please email all of your contacts and do a Facebook post on your timeline asking all of your friend to do as you have done.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- If you’re not already registered you cannot vote in this year’s General Election. The reality is that, that is one of the objectives of the 2013 North Carolina voter suppressions laws. In elections of the past a person could register and vote up through Election Day. There are other voter suppression laws that await the unsuspecting and some of these laws will also prevent citizens from voting. Another major roadblock to voting will be going to the wrong precinct to vote. Voters can no longer cast out of precinct ballots.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Recent news reports addressing the November 4th North Carolina, General Election are important but should not be viewed in any way that would cause Black voters to do anything but promote a massive voter turnout. On October 1, the 4th U S Circuit Court of Appeals voted to allow same day registration and out-of-precinct voting in this year’s election. Other major voter suppression laws remain in effect and the Republicans have appealed the Court’s decision. They are still trying to block same day registration and out-of-precinct voting. They rightfully fear the power of a massive Black voter turnout and we need to deliver one to them.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Around 30 days and counting, this election season is in the home stretch. The highest profile race is for US Senate between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. Although most polls show Senator Hagan with a slight lead, without a massive turnout of Black voters and wall to wall Election Day coverage of Black precincts, voter suppression will win the day. If we don’t turnout, Tillis will win and Republicans will have succeeded in disenfranchising Black voters.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- This year, as a part of an effort to mobilize Black Voters to vote in November, the Legislative Black Caucus and other leadership organizations invited predominately Black Churches to make Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 into Freedom Sunday, a celebration of citizen rights in the United States and a day to kick off non-partisan congregational voter registration and education programs. The movement is concentrating especially on congregations that are predominantly African American, where the memories of the Freedom Summer of 1964 are more likely to be widely remembered. That was the summer when Freedom Riders of many races came to the American South to help African Americans register to vote. Their work helped lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – and reaction against their work caused the martyrdom of Freedom Riders Michael Schwerner, 24, of New York, James Chaney, 21, from Mississippi, and Andrew Goodman, 20, of New York, who disappeared near Philadelphia, Miss., June 21, 1964. Their bodies were later found buried in an earthen dam. http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/09/freedom_summer_sunday.html
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