Ada Fisher: Voter rights are already guaranteed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

By Ada Fisher

One of North Carolina’s greatest U.S. senators was Democrat Samuel James Ervin, Jr., (1954-1974) a Morganton native, U.S. Army World War I veteran and former chair of the Senate’s Watergate Committee.

Having the privilege to meet “Senator Sam,” I was intrigued by his voting record in Congress as well as his southern drawl during the Watergate hearings. When he was going to lay down the gauntlet against the corrupters, he would preface his remarks noting he was just a simple “country lawyer,” underplaying the fact that he was a 1917 graduate of the Harvard Law School.

So in puzzlement I asked my senator why he hadn’t voted for civil rights legislation designed to protect the rights of people to vote? So eloquently and simply he stated that the right to vote is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If people would follow that law, there would be no need for all this other legislation because the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged … ” So representative of this is his autobiography “Preserving the Constitution.”

When Nelson Mandela ran for South Africa’s presidency, people stood in line for hours on end to cast their vote. Many today do not want to wait in the rain or be inconvenienced by lines, times and dates which don’t suit their needs or any obstacle real or imagined to voting. Municipalities expend many resources and much manpower keeping voting precincts open during times of low usage costing monies which are equally needed elsewhere.

The validity of determining who is and is not a citizen is likewise defined by the constitution as a prerequisite to voting and does not include people who have not rightfully obtained citizenship as therein laid out. Many county and state boards of elections can attest to the fact that voter participation is usually low during non-presidential elections — even with expanded hours of operation and dates.

The cry for election integrity is maintained often due to vote harvesting and mail-in ballots that may not often allow for proof of voter identity, making stuffing ballots easier and disproportionate voting possible. In this regard, the purging of voter rolls on an annual basis would eliminate those not eligible to vote, but it could possibly cripple the access of those possibly disabled or otherwise disconnected.

The cause of a national voting day is often ignored for fear that, as presently designed, people might not be able to get to the polls in time. If that day covered a 24-hour time period in which to vote, better vote counting and representation of the electorate could be had as a concession for that convenience. Earlier determination of winners would also be possible. In addition, such would allow shift workers and those with varying work schedules access.

The possibility of early voting influencing the results from other states where polls are not closed would be diminished by such a move. So would a ban on disclosure of early voting results until the time expired for the last vote to be cast.

Let us follow the law and keep the Constitution foremost in our actions so that we keep a more representative government.

Salisbury’s Ada M. Fisher served as N.C. Republican National Committeewoman from 2012 to 2020, was a medical director in a Fortune 500 company, served on the Rowan County Board Of Education and worked as a secondary education teacher.