WE THE PEOPLE…of the United States of America are seven weeks away from what President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have called, “the most important election in the history of our country”. They may have not been the first to make that proclamation and as November 3rd approaches expect many others to join in that chorus. Also, make no mistake, such a warning applies all the way down the ballot. It is vital to vote not merely for the election of the president but for legislative and judicial candidates as well.
However, there is an elephant in the room looming and casting a shadow (shade?) over our democratic election process. The spectre of voter suppression and outright voter nullification is more than a legend or rumor. There is a horrendous history of such oppressive chicanery and one does not have to go back to the Post-Civil War Reconstruction era or even to the late 20th century. Such tactics (including manipulating the US mail delivery process) are still very much in effect and a large part of overall political strategy utilized more often than not by…those elephants.
There are very recent instances of attempts to suppress voting at both the state and federal levels and since Emancipation, those suppressed, nullified, denied, and purged from the voting process are acutely targeted and disproportionately look like us (non-white, predominately Black citizens).
Therefore, we stand the chance of having two issues: one, overcoming obstacles set before us to vote, and two, having a candidate that actually represents our interests. Such are the challenges. However, we cannot be turned back or away by these would-be roadblocks. Awareness, preparedness, and an effective action plan can thwart the seditious intent of those enemies of fairness and equality.
It is with that in mind that I urge us all to ensure that we are registered, know where to vote, and on Election Day secure transportation to the polls, take our medicine, wear comfortable clothes, pack a snack, and be prepared to wait in line and practice patience. Also, for those of us wjho will be participating in mail-in voting, please make sure you have plenty of time to obtain your ballot and mail it in. Remember, knowledge and information of the process will combat any counter forces.
On behalf of proactive citizens, we strongly urge each State’s Secretary of State and/or Election Administrators to ensure the integrity of the voting process and access to the electoral apparatus. Let us all demand of those officers in our respective states, that they exercise their power and assuage the concerns and fears about this most consequential election by employing effective and preventative action.
Further, in an effort to galvanize and mobilize the community, please join me in working in conjunction with “The Divine 9”, the partnership of the historically African American Greek letter sororities and fraternities, which represent a membership of over two and a half million civic-minded Black women and men. I will be hosting a Divine 9 Roundtable featuring the presidents of each organization to discuss a strategy to educate, motivate, and activate our community’s voting base. Please be a part via YouTube and Facebook Live @sybilwilkes, 7pm ET/6pm CT/4pm PT.
And please remember, if our vote doesn’t count, why do they do so much to suppress it?
Be informed, be empowered.
– Sybil Wilkes