Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The lines are long, but Black voters are demonstrating their will to vote.
In Texas, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana, African Americans’ resiliency and resolve have never been as severely tested.
They have gone to great lengths to overcome voter suppression, discouragement, misinformation, gerrymandering, and so many other obstacles to participate in America’s elections.
In Fort Bend County, Texas, a check-in machine glitch shut down at least four precincts, and a court ruling that significantly limited ballot locations didn’t stop many African Americans from traveling long distances and overcoming even longer wait times to vote.
In Georgia, NPR Reported that the clogged polling locations in metro Atlanta reflected an underlying pattern: the number of places to vote has shrunk statewide, with little recourse.
“Although the reduction in polling places has taken place across racial lines, it has primarily caused long lines in nonwhite neighborhoods where voter registration has surged and more residents cast ballots in person on Election Day. The pruning of polling places started long before the pandemic, which has discouraged people from voting in person,” the report noted.
In Virginia, a glitch shut down polls and forced officials to push back deadlines to cast early votes.
Also, General Registrar Donna Patterson told reporters that the long lines in Virginia Beach had been like that each day since early voting began about one month ago. Add to that number the 55,000 mail-in ballots the registrar received to that point.
Patterson noted that the state might have the highest voter turnout ever.
In North Carolina, about 163,000 votes were cast in person across North Carolina on Saturday, bringing the total to 828,456 in the state — more than double the number of people in North Carolina who went to the polls at this time in the 2016 election.
“Texas has been under siege confronting voter suppression from multiple fronts from our Governor Greg Abbott to the state higher courts,” noted Sonny Messiah Jiles, the publisher, and CEO of The Houston Defender Media Group, DefenderNetwork.com.
“It is unbelievable or ridiculous for a county with 2.4 million registered voters to have one location to drop off mail-in ballots,” Jiles remarked.
“Despite their efforts, the Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a smart young millennial, has been strategic and innovative with drive-thru voting, doubling the early voting locations and the historical move of 24-hour voting. But aside from voting access, we need to beware not to be bamboozled listening to the polls and just go and vote like our life depends on it, because it does.”
Numerous voter suppression tactics have been used in Texas and throughout the nation, added Patrick Washington, CEO, and co-publisher of the Dallas Weekly.
“Like the late-night ruling, from a 5th Circuit Court via a three judge panel, all of whom appointed by President Trump to uphold Governor Abbot’s mandate to limit one ballot drop box for millions of voters in Dallas county,” Washington observed.