The Koch brothers have pledged to spend nearly 900 million dollars ($900,000,000.00) to influence the outcome of the upcoming 2016 elections. They are, through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) the chief architects of the anti-Black, voter suppression laws enacted all over America. What are we as Blacks, the chief beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Movement, organizing to do to stop their attacks on our voting rights? And, when are we going to do it? This week we’ll touch on the efforts of two Black elected officials, Representative Rodney Moore, Democrat from Charlotte and Mayor Chris Rey of Spring Lake.
The Koch Brothers are just two of many billionaires and other rich people that are funding the voter suppression laws and efforts around the country. Thanks to the Citizens United decision, the rich and the super rich are able to spend obscene amounts of money for candidates and PACs. Many of these PACs and candidates are supporting voter suppressions laws and laws that are transferring huge amounts of wealth to their pet projects.
According to recent reports, at least five North Carolina Republican legislators are seeking reimbursement of their registration fees of up to $750.00 and $104.00 per day travel expenses for attending the ALEC conference in California last week. I’m certain that many of their discussions revolved around new ideas for voter suppression and using tax revenue for their wealth creation. Recently, the Republican controlled North Carolina Supreme Court issued a decision declaring that spending tax dollars with private schools was legal. This is an ALEC strategy to destroy public education and transfer tax revenue to private businesses.
During the ongoing trial of the Voter Suppression Act law, aka VIVA the director of the North Carolina Board of Elections testified that more than 96,000 people who used same-day voter registration in 2012 might not have been able to cast a ballot if the state’s new election law had been in effect. Remember, the law was in effect last November when Kay Hagan lost her re-election campaign by 48,511 votes.
Also, it’s important to understand that no matter the outcome of the current lawsuit challenging the Voter Suppression Act, aka VIVA, some, if not all of the provisions will be in effect for the November 2016 General Election.
Because of the passage of the Voting Rights Act we have been able to elect thousands of Black elected officials across the country and America’s first Black President. By electing these officials we have acquired enormous political power. When we elected them we conferred upon them a sacred trust. We entrusted them with the responsibility of protecting our right to vote and of using their individual and collective powers to help create wealth and otherwise improve Black communities.
Last week I informed our readers of my invitation by Mayor Chris Rey, President of the North Carolina Black Elected Municipal Officials (NC BEMO) to do a voter protection and mobilization presentation at their annual conference this week. He has indicated to me that restoring the Voting Act of 1965 and protecting voting rights is and will remain a high priority of NC BEMO from now through the November 2016 General Election and beyond.
I will be joined at the NC BEMO conference by Representative Rodney Moore. Together we will discuss the necessity of a statewide effort to protect Black voting rights and the development of strategies to do so.
Additionally, I’ve been invited by Representative Moore to appear and make comments at the August 6, 50th year commemoration of the passage of 1965 Voting Rights Act. The commemoration will be held at 12:00 noon at the NC General Assembly. The public is invited and urged to attend. Basically, Rep. Moore, Mayor Rey, and I are making identical observations. It is a community imperative that Black elected officials, the clergy, the press and other community leaders must immediately develop a voter mobilization strategy to protect and promote our voting rights through 2016 and beyond.
As I’ve previously alerted our readers, the need for Blacks and progressives to educate, organize, and mobilize to defeat voter suppression and to protect hard won voting rights has to be an ongoing effort. However, rest assured, with the leadership of Rep. Moore, Mayor Rey and others, although the struggle will be long and hard, we will succeed in our efforts.
Please follow the evolution of our efforts going forward and join us as individuals and organizations.
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