‘Left’ continues voter suppression spin

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

If one listens closely to the “left’s” logic, it appears that even 17 days of voting prior to the Nov. 8 General Election falls short of what is needed.

For those coming in late, I’m not a big fan of early voting. I cast my first ballot back when I was a college student and did so on election day. Nearly 45 years later, I still make it a habit to vote on that pre-determined day of the year when ALL polling places are opened in my county of residence.

Here in the rural part of the state where the number of registered voters in all four counties of the Roanoke-Chowan falls short of equaling the voting population of a single metro county, there are no long lines on election day. I can understand the need for early voting at multiple sites in North Carolina counties with large numbers of registered voters, but even for them, eight to ten days of the early process should suffice.

During the last presidential year election (2012), voters in all 100 counties of North Carolina enjoyed a 10-day early voting period. That should have been more than enough to ease any election day strain at the polling places in our state’s highly populated counties.

Now, in 2016, where the federal courts have weighed in and ruled that North Carolina’s 2013 Voter ID Law is unconstitutional, our state has returned to a 17-day early voting period.

But, wait…..perhaps even that number of days isn’t enough.

Last week I received a press release from our First District Congressman, G.K. Butterfield. Apparently he was opposed to a decision made by the Pitt County Board of Elections to not allow early voting on the two Sundays (Oct. 30 and Nov. 6) leading up to the General Election.

In asking the Pitt County Board to reconsider its decision, Butterfield stated, “The right to vote is fundamental to our Democracy. Sunday voting is permitted in many counties across North Carolina, and the Pitt County Board of Elections should be flexible in affording its citizens the opportunity to do the same. The fact is that African American voters participate in large numbers during the early vote, particularly on Sunday. With this decision, the Pitt County Board of Elections has clearly demonstrated it seeks to suppress African American participation in this election. I will join Pitt County citizens in petitioning the North Carolina State Board of Elections to reject the early vote plan of the Pitt County Board of Elections.”

Progress NC Action jumped on the same bandwagon, but added that despite an increase by seven days in early voting opportunities, “voter suppression (remains) in action.”

That logic throws me for a loop…how can a greater number of opportunities to cast a ballot translate into “voter suppression?”

Progress NC Action states that “Republicans are expected to continue their coordinated statewide attempt to cut early voting hours — including Sunday voting — and limit the number of polling places in an effort to make it harder for voters to get to the polls.

“By eliminating Sunday voting, Republicans are directly targeting the “souls to the polls” effort, in which many African-American churchgoers vote after Sunday services. Given that North Carolina’s monster voter suppression law was already found to discriminate against African-Americans, this latest effort should be treated with extreme skepticism,” the press release from Progress NC stated.

Despite the cries for Sunday voting, Board of Elections across North Carolina are not mandated – either by state officials or over-reaching federal agencies (including the courts) – to offer early voting on the Sabbath.

But yet if you listen to the liberal left, the Republicans are denying voting-age citizens of their basic rights and thusly “suppressing the minority vote.”

Here’s my two cents worth…. if a registered voter of any race, religion or creed doesn’t take the opportunity to cast a ballot during any of the 18 days (17 days of early voting or on Nov. 8) afforded them in this election cycle, then zip the opening between your top and bottom lip and stop your whining about voter “suppression” and/or being “disenfranchised.”


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal