you ready to vote? Are you registered? These may seem like
simplistic questions, especially for those who are aware, but every
year some folks are denied access to the polls because they didn’t
register on time, or they moved and their address does not match the
address the registrar of voters has, or SOMETHING. The Presidential
election is likely to be a nail-biter, and there are local races that
are also close. Your best bet is to make sure you know what the
requirements for voting are in your state. www.vote.com lists the
requirements for all 50 states. A few states allow voter
registration on the day of an election, but most states require you
to register between 11 and 30 days before the vote. Some states
allow online registration, most allow registration by mail (with
requirements about the date a registration is postmarked), and almost
all allow in person registration.
terms and conditions of voting are still being negotiated in some
states so it makes sense to stay on top of voting rules. A federal
appeals court recently kicked discriminatory North Carolina voting
terms to the curb, saying that that state discriminated against
African Americans with “surgical precision”. Efforts to
reduce the number of days available for early voting, or to eliminate
Sunday voting, disproportionately affects African American voters.
North Carolina Republians are deliberate and mindful in their attempt
to sideline African American voters, since most African Americans are
Democrats. They want to deliver their state to Donald Trump and they
want to ensure that Senator Richard Burr and Governor Pat McCrory,
both Republicans, are also re-elected.
Carolina isn’t the only state with electoral shenanigans.
Texas, Kansas, Georgia and Alabama have also implemented restrictive
measures that are being appealed by civil rights groups, the League
of Women Voters, the NAACP and others. Disputes revolve around things
like absentee ballots, purges of inactive voters, and issues of
whether ballots will count if they are cast in the wrong precincts.
In our “democracy”, it seems that we do more to
discourage voters than encourage them, and while the voting process
could be seamless, plans to prevent as many as 50,000 Kansas voters
from going to the polls, for example, make no sense in a
folks don’t want it to be participatory, though. Republicans
now control most state legislatures, and have been passing voter
suppression laws since 2010, when they began to take control of state
houses. Civic participation organizations, like the Lawyers
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National Coalition for
Black Civic Participation, and others, are fighting back, preparing
to have people available to help voters, especially in battleground
states, and with hot lines (1-866-OUR-VOTE) and other forms of voter
assistance. In an election that is likely to be close, it is
important that every voice be heard.
still not clear why polling suggests that this vote is so close.
Secretary Hillary Clinton, for all her imperfections, is a stunningly
superior candidate to the bumbling Donald Trump who just recently
praised Russia’s Vladimir Putin as a “better leader”
than President Obama. Now, that’s just downright unpatriotic,
not to mention short-sided, and tone-deaf. While folks are running
Colin Kaepernick down for being unpatriotic, Trump gets away with
comments that border on the treasonous, and is still considered a
“credible” candidate for President. Really?
Trump goes to one Black church and gets all kind of media coverage.
Hillary Clinton visits numerous Black churches, and the media is
absent. Donald Trump blusters his way through an interview with Matt
Lauer on national security, and is hardly challenged and, certainly,
never interrupted. Hillary Clinton offers substance to an extremely
biased Lauer who was, at best, unprepared for the interview. Instead
of getting kudos on her performance, too many have noticed that
Hillary “didn’t smile”. National security is no
laughing matter, folks.
have stark choices in this election, but some of us won’t be
making choices because we won’t be prepared to vote on November
8. Now is the time to make sure you are prepared. Are you
registered? Where will you vote? Will you be out of town or unable
to get to the polls on November 8? Can you do early voting or vote
via an absentee ballot? These aren’t questions to ask on
November 5, they are questions to ask now. Don’t shake your
head on November 9 and say you didn’t like the outcome if you
didn’t bother to vote on November 8. The stakes are high!