“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
It is August in North Carolina, when mosquitoes come around at noon and trees laden with figs offer their abundant sweetness.
It is also August, 2020, just a few short months before we are given the chance to exercise our right to VOTE.
In the pre-Covid times, RCWMS offered meeting space for voter education, kept voter registration forms at the office, participated in organized voter registration campaigns, and supported staff taking time off to work the polls.
This pandemic time has created confusion and uncertainty and fear around many things. With this primer we want to make sure that voting is not one of those issues of concern for our community.
- Can the election be delayed? The election WILL take place on November 3, 2020. Vox.com explains the “a trio of federal laws set Election Day for presidential electors, senators, and US representatives as “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.” If Republicans want to change this law, they would need to go through the Democratic House.”
- Can I vote by mail? It varies by state. The answer for North Carolina is yes. NC is one of 34 states plus the District of Columbia that allow “no excuse” absentee voting. In other words, you do not have to cite a medical condition or any other excuse in order to qualify for an absentee ballot.
- How do I request a ballot? For the November 2020 general election, completed NC State Absentee Ballot Request Forms may be emailed, faxed or hand-delivered to the voter’s county board of elections by one of the following: the voter; the voter’s near relative or verifiable legal guardian; or a member of a multipartisan assistance team (MAT).
- How can I help get out the vote from the safety of my home? Durham-based You Can Vote is one of a number of get-out-the-vote organizations with myriad volunteer opportunities. Sign up here to get started.
August 18, 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. A cause to celebrate, of course, but it should also be noted that the franchise was effectively denied to Black women and other women of color, who faced discriminatory state laws almost immediately after the 19th amendment was ratified. We’ll go into more detail about the unvarnished history of women’s suffrage in a coming post.
The late Congressman John Lewis and his compatriots in the Civil Rights Movement worked for decades to guarantee the right to vote for all Americans. That fight continues to this day. Let us honor his memory by showing up, voting, and encouraging others to vote.