With no straight-ticket voting, activists preaching absentee ballots for Nov. 8

Linda Sutton, interim secretary for the Forsyth County NAACP

With no straight-ticket voting, activists preaching absentee ballots for Nov. 8
August 18
07:35 2016



One of the major concerns about the 2013 voter suppression law was that the requirement for voters to brandish their government-issued photo identification would ultimately cause long lines at the polls during the early voting period and on Nov. 8 Election Day. So when the July 29th federal appellate decision doing away with voter ID was handed down, many cheered, until they realized there was still one key part of the voter suppression law still intact: the part that did away with straight-ticket balloting.

In North Carolina, Michigan and other states without straight-ticket voting, Republicans say forcing voters to choose candidates race-by-race allows them to do their research on who has the best positions. But critics say given the partisan atmosphere, voters pretty much know what parties they support, so not being able to mark one party of candidates only creates longer lines and greater confusion.

According to the U.S. Fourth Circuit ruling, one of the reasons why early voting was targeted by Republican lawmakers was because it was so popular with African-American voters. Thus, virtually all of the voter suppression requirements were applied accordingly.

But not so with mail-in absentee balloting, a voting feature dominated by Republicans who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to cast an in-person ballot on any of the early voting days or on Election Day.

Unlike in-person voting, absentee balloting has virtually few restrictions.

According to the Forsyth County Board of Elections, “Any registered North Carolina voter can request a mail-in absentee ballot. This type of absentee voting allows a voter or a near relative or legal guardian to request that an absentee ballot be sent to the voter by mail. The voter may vote the ballot and return it to the county board of elections by the ballot return deadline.”

Eric Ellison, chairman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party, believes working with those in the community who need the added time at home to study the candidates and the issues more thoroughly on the general ballot will bare fruit in the end because they won’t be rushed to make snap judgments on Election Day. Not just the presidential and gubernatorial races will be listed, but the legislative, county city and judicial races will also be listed, among others.

“They’ve overloaded it, so every single race that could be on this ballot, will be on this ballot,” Ellison told The Chronicle.

Fortunately, the Forsyth Democratic Party has been distributing a thorough voting card since June with names, pictures and web-sites of Democratic candidates for voters to become familiar with.

Linda Sutton, interim secretary for the Forsyth County NAACP, says they are working with churches to help prospective voters deal with what everyone expects will be an extra long local ballot for the general election. Generally Sutton believes if churches can help people understand their absentee ballots, and assist them with properly returning them to the elections board by mail, that will ultimately help make for a smoother election.

“We’re doing our faithful voter pledge cards where we’re going to be sending people their sample ballot, and also sending them their early voting times. So we’re doing what we can to get the word out to as many people as we can.”

Sutton also said that a “Black Votes Matter” campaign is also needed to impress upon the community the importance of every vote, especially in the aftermath of the two recent U.S. Fourth Circuit rulings striking down the voter suppression law and the 2011 N.C. legislative redistricting map.

They are “trying to do something to raise the awareness of these two rulings,” Sutton said.

Meanwhile published reports quote Gov. Pat McCrory as saying that his attorneys are asking U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ July 29 ruling overturning the voter ID laws before the Nov. 8 general elections.

About Author

Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors