Letter: True opposition to Sunday voting not spoken

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 15, 2020

Opponents of Sunday voting at a recent Board of Elections meeting put forth several arguments without once mentioning the real issue, which is obviously the issue of race.

Two of our legislators, Rep. Harry Warren and Sen. Carl Ford, along with several others spoke in opposition. One of their arguments was that voting on Sunday would create too great of a financial burden. This criticism is ludicrous since the proposal is only for two, four-hour days. They also declared that Sunday voting would somehow be a desecration of the Sabbath. In fact, many people view voting as an ennobling act and even a sacred duty.

Warren insisted that Sunday voting was unnecessary since absentee ballots are available. He knows that voting absentee is more complicated and time-consuming than simply voting in person and would discourage voter turnout, which is his real goal.

Throughout our nation’s history, African-Americans have had to fight, and sometimes die for rights and privileges that most of us in the white community take for granted. The most painful part of the story is that, often, African-Americans have to fight the same battles again as new waves of suppression threaten their hard-won rights.

On June 25, 2013, in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court removed enforcement powers from the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts assured us that these safeguards were no longer needed to protect African-Americans’ right to vote. He was wrong.

Less than two months later, the N.C. Legislature passed possibly the most restrictive voting laws in America. In 2016, a U.S. Court of Appeals overturned these laws, stating that N.C. had designed this legislation to deprive “African-Americans of the vote with almost surgical precision.”

It is time for us to protect our democracy, not assault it.

Keith Townsend
Mt. Ulla