Voter Suppression Hinders Progression of Black Community

Voter Suppression Hinders Progression of Black Community

This article was originally published by The A&T Register at NC A&T University and is republished here as part of the One Vote North Carolina student media collaboration. Copyright by The A&T Register.

Since the Reconstruction Era Voter Suppression has been a commonplace activity during American elections. Despite the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, the black vote has still been muffled by state laws. Long ago literacy test and poll taxes were the choices of weapon against black voters. Today, restrictive election laws disguised as racially neutral, giving them a sheen of legitimacy, hinder the black and minority vote.

Currently, Black people in America are experiencing Voter Suppression in different ways.

Voter IDs are restricting those without a drivers license or federal ID from voting.

Felonies hinder people from voting and prevent them from integrating back into society which affects black men the most.

In the North Carolina Constitution, Article VI, Section 2 sets out the disqualification for a felon, stating:

“[N]o person adjudged guilty of a felony against this State or the United States, or adjudged guilty of a felony in another state that would also be a felony if it had been committed in this State, shall be permitted to vote unless that person shall be first restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law.”

Gerrymandering is affecting the campus of N.C. A&T, but this election cycle, they were strategic about preventing black people from having their voice heard.

Early voting has been used throughout history to ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to work. Because election day is normally on a weekday, polls are opened on earlier dates and the weekends to ensure those that have to work during voting hours have the opportunity to.

This year, the schedule looks a little different. Early voting begins on October 17th, but the polling sites are closed almost all Saturdays. The only Saturday that the polls happen to be open is November 3. That date is oddly familiar because it is the same day as N.C. A&T’s homecoming.

While Polls are open on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the largest concentration of black people in Guilford County will be at a parade preparing for a tailgate and enjoying a football game.

There is no way that this is a coincidence. With crucial amendments on the ballot such as “Voter IDs” and the ability for the black population in Greensboro to flip the Republican seats to Democratic, there is no way that they just so happened to fall on the same day.

What do we do moving forward? We have no option but to get out and vote. A form of protest is resistance, and if we resist the suppression through going out in large numbers then we have no choice but to vote.

Souls to the Polls, an initiative, is back. In the past, churches have stopped services to take their entire congregation to voting locations. Pastors figured if they could get people to come to worship God, they could get them to the polls, too.

With only one day for early voting on the weekend – Sunday, Oct. 28 – it is crucial for the black community to get out and vote.

Souls to the Polls is not an initiative to only get Christians to vote but rather for all people who believe in the justice system. Sponsors of the event include churches in the east Greensboro area and the NAACP.

Still, the call to action is now. We have to mobilize against the suppression that is trying to prevent us from voting. We must fight the resistance.