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Voting Is No Joke!
10/22/2014 3:44:08 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The Voting Rights Act outlawed discriminatory voting practices that were designed mainly to prevent African Americans from voting. Forty nine years later, we find ourselves on the same threshold of discriminatory practices like the recent Voter ID initiative that is now the law.

The Voter ID requirement was Republican driven to suppress the Black vote. And why was this initiative introduced after an African American was elected President? If you haven’t figured it out yet, it was designed to reduce the number of eligible African Americans and Hispanics who were most likely to vote President Obama in for a second term. Voter ID would make it more difficult but not impossible for African Americans to vote particularly the poor and elderly. African Americans are accustomed to hurdles being placed in their paths so the latest ID hurdle can be overcome.

Some churches and organizations are working to help persons through the Voter ID process. According to the ACLU (American Civil Liberty Union), here are reasons why you can vote Absentee Ballot if you plan to be out of your county on Election Day: (1) you are a student or the spouse of a dependent child of a student; (2) you are a member of the Armed Forces, Merchant Marines, Red Cross, USO, or a government employee (or the spouse or dependent child of any one of these); (3) you live overseas; or (4) you are away on vacation. And here are eight other reasons you can vote in person and Absentee Ballot even if you will be in your county on Election Day: (1) 65 or older; (2) death or funeral in your family within three days of the election; (3) you are in jail or a pre-trial awaiting arraignment or trial; (4) you are attending to someone who is sick or disabled; (5) you are a certified poll watcher or poll worker; (6) your job prevents you from voting on Election Day; (7) you are physically disabled or hospitalized; (8) you have jury duty on Election Day. Don’t give officials any reason to challenge your ballot.

Some of y’all tend to believe everything ‘ya hear but little of what you see so just in case some of y’all forgot where ‘ya came from and how ‘ya got where ‘ya are, let’s just take a look back in times. It was through the vote of our elders that we were able to obtain certain rights. Young people, get involve in the voting process. While you are out there robbing folks and bar hopping, politicians are busy making decisions that negatively impact your life and that of your unborn children. You can change things by getting involved in the voting process. Stop putting folks in office who do not have your best interests at heart. Vote out politicians that fatten their nests while you are forced out of yours. In order to keep you down, you can’t get a loan to purchase a home or go into business.

While politicians play their cat and mouse games, folks are still losing their savings, homes and jobs. So, stop believing the negative advertising that President Obama is responsible for the state of the economy and he hasn’t done enough to get the economy back on track. What has Nikki Haley done for you lately? Check out her record on refusing billions of education and health care dollars earmarked for this state that went elsewhere. Democrats continue to lead the fight to get this country back on track. They are our best hope.

Education, housing, healthcare and jobs remain top priorities facing us in this election. Locally, education is one of the biggest challenges facing our children. The County School Board has failed to educate all children fairly. The Board has spent the lion share of taxpayers’ money in Mt. Pleasant District #2 while Lincoln in District #1 is fighting for a new school—a school that should have been replaced after Hurricane Hugo flooded that school leaving behind health hazards and issues, far beyond what we can envision, from all kinds of bacteria, mold and algae from sea life. The school is so outdated that many residents have opted not to send their children there.

Local elections are just as important as national elections. Review your candidates so you don’t feel overwhelmed when entering the polls. Be sure to vote for County and Constituent School Board candidates. Oftentimes, we overlook this very important election because we are not familiar with the candidates or don’t view this as important as local representatives but it is. It is time to put an end to the school board circus on second and fourth Mondays. It is time to demand fiscal responsibility for the one cent sales tax that will once again come up for an extension during this election.. Vote “No” for the referendum until minority schools become integrated and a top priority. Why do we have minority schools? Did I sleep through integration or what? Elect school board members that will work to ensure the best education possible for all children. Every child matters!

Voting is no joke. Your future depends upon electing the right persons to office. South Carolina needs new leadership from the state house to the school house. Too many folks have died for your right to VOTE. You can cast your vote now at Church of Christ on Azalea Drive if you fall under one of the reasons for early voting. If not, do not stay home on November 4. Your future depends upon your vote. Hope is in your vote.

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