Editorial: Bond Referendums & Skewed Voting
We are pleased and surprised that talk of a bond referendum has not relegated the city’s more urban centers.
It has always been beclouding how communities of color routinely were ignored their lion’s share of budgetary allotments and bond money, even when the majority of those divvying the pie were people of color – black folks, to be specific.
Since these wards – mainly the East and Southeast – have been long neglected, it reasons that they should be given some extra love. The residents of these wards have been the plebeians, watching their crosstown neighbors bask in excesses – a bounty of clean, modern parks and facilities and pristine roads and sidewalks that have yielded many economic growth opportunities.
If a bond referendum makes its way to the ballot in November and if voters agree that paying higher taxes is worth needed improvements, the improvements coming to urban wards will only be a drop in the bucket. The areas need sustained attention; showing them love once every decade just won’t cut it. City leaders have long floated platitudes about economic parity. Now, is the time for them to show their mettle – to put up or shut up.
The state Board of Elections has rubber-stamped the local board’s white-friendly, black-hostile early voting plan. That should not have come as surprise. Providing folks with their hard-fought right to vote should not be a political issue – not in 2014.
Yeah, we know that sounds strange, but the act of casting ballots – choosing a party, candidate, cause – is partisan; the act of merely entering the voting booth unfettered, should not be.
In states they control, Republicans have changed the rules of the game. The Forsyth County Board of Elections is working in concert with the national GOP machine to stack the deck in favor of the Party, which is losing its soul to extremists and its appeal among the young and educated.
Voting rights advocates, candidates and the Democratic Party – which just hired new N.C. executive director Casey Mann – will have their work cut out this year. Areas flushed with Republican residents will get the early voting red carpet treatment. Obstacle courses – the ID law, truncated voting calendar, slashed early voting sites – have been set up for everyone else.
The goal is to deter us – frustrate us to the point that we stay home. If that thought even crosses your mind, remember our past. Our people faced worse. Police batons, water hoses, vicious dogs and even more vicious rednecks didn’t deter them. Remember them. Honor them, and respect their legacy.