WITH NO SUNDAY VOTING, WHEN
CAN CHURCHES BRING SOULS TO THE POLLS?
By Cash Michaels
Now that the Republican-led NC Board of Elections has decided not to force the New Hanover County Board of Elections to reinstitute Sunday voting when early voting commences on Oct. 20th, will area black churches develop plans to transport their congregations to the early voting sites during other days?
There was Sunday “Souls to the Polls voting for the March primary earlier this year, as numerous black churches participated without a problem. Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the New Hanover County NAACP, is not pleased it won’t happen again this fall.
‘The loss of Sunday voting was a blow,” Ms. Maxwell told The Journal in a statement Sunday evening. “It is bankers hours that personally discriminates against me and my work schedule. [The NAACP] will respond by encouraging voters [to vote] during the time given. We will also request all houses of faith and individuals to offer transportation to the polls. Churches with midday Bible study will be encouraged to go to the polls at that time.”
“ I was informed that because we did not have Sunday voting in 2012 we were not considered this time. Someone died for our right to vote and we will exercise it,” Ms. Maxwell continued.
What is clear is that not allowing Sunday voting for the fall general election is in direct contradiction to the spirit of the July 29th U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (later upheld by the US Supreme Court) when it struck down parts of the 2013 Voter ID law, passed by the Republican-led legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.
In that historic ruling, the Appellate Court wrote:
“African-Americans disproportionately used the first seven days of early voting. After receipt of this racial data, the General Assembly amended [the voter I law] to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days. As a result, the law also eliminated one of two “souls to the polls” Sundays in which African-American churches provided transportation to voters.”
The appellate court ruled that the General Assembly did so with discriminatory “intent” and targeted African-Americans with “surgical precision.”
It was last month the GOP-led New Hanover County BOE voted not reinstitute Sunday voting for the coming general election early voting period. Like all local BOEs, Republicans are in the majority 2-1. The NHC BOE’s sole Democrat, Tom Pollard, advocated for Sunday voting, saying that he felt the board should “maximize” voting opportunities for all county residents, but he was not heeded.
To be fair, a Democratic majority NHC BOE had also disallowed Sunday voting for the 2012 presidential election.
So as it stands now, absent a legal challenge, One Stop Early Voting /Same Day Registration in New Hanover county will begin Thursday, Oct. 20th and end Saturday, Nov. 5at the Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 34, with no Sunday voting.
Voters can also obtain applications for mail-in absentee voting online, along with sample ballots. Absentee voting has already begun in North Carolina. Please go to http://elections.nhcgov.com/voting-registration/absentee-voting/ for more
“We have over 40 faith ambassadors who will ensure that their respective congregations go out and vote,” Pres. Deborah Maxwell of the NHC NAACP vows. “The community will adjust their voting time to the new schedule because “This is Our Time, This Is Our Vote.”
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 9-15-16
CLINTON BLASTS VOTER ID WHILE IN CHARLOTTE
[CHARLOTTE] Charging that Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led NC General Assembly has tried to “restrict people’s right to vote,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told those gathered at Johnson C. Smith University Sept. 8th that North Carolina’s 2013 Voter ID law was a blast from the Jim Crow past” and had no place in the 21st century. On July 29th, the US Fourth Circuit of Appeals ruled the Voter ID law as unconstitutional, later to be reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court. With voter ID out of the way, some observers say North Carolina is prime for Hillary Clinton to win in November.
CONSERVATIVE GROUP SPONSORS GET-OUT-THE VOTE BUS TOUR
[WINSTON-SALEM] A conservative lobbying group brought its nationwide bus tour to North Carolina Sunday and Monday, visiting Baptist churches across the state, urging evangelicals to vote in November. The Family Research Council Action bus tour visited stops in western North Carolina. The group, which is supporting Republican Donald Trump this election, is planning 100 stops in all throughout the state. North Carolina is currently tied between Trump and Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER SHOT DURING ROBBERY ATTEMPT
[CHARLOTTE] Police are looking for the assailant for shot a local elementary school teacher in an attempted robbery Friday night. Police say Ruijuan Guo, a Mandarin instructor at Kensington Elementary School in Waxhaw, Union County, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Police are asking any witnesses to come forward as they investigate.