Story by D.L.White
The opportunity to cast an early ballot and avoid the potentially long lines and wait often associated with presidential elections that include ballots stuffed with propositions, congressional and local candidates as well as school board members vying for office is the motivation that has moved increasing numbers of registered voters across the country to vote early in their states pre-poll and no-excuse advance voting.
Arizona is one of 34 states and the District of Columbia (DC) that allow early voting (prior to primary and general elections).
The days of early voting can range from four days to 50 days prior (Arizona has a 30 day Early Voting period, Oct 12 – Nov 4, excluding Sundays).
On Saturday, October 29, through a combined effort of several local organizations, concerned citizens, business and religious leaders and youth interested in the process of voting, the Super Soul Saturday Early Voting –Get Out the Vote initiative (SSSEV-GOTVI), will take place at the South Phoenix Community Center, 212 E. Alta Vista, from 10am – 4pm.
Any currently registered voter in Maricopa County can take advantage of this opportunity to cast their ballot prior to the upcoming general election on Nov 8.
Early voting allows (registered voters) to vote at any of several designated Early Voting sites throughout the county in which they reside. (Please note, this only applies to Early voting, on Election Day, all registered voters must vote within their designated precinct/polling area).
This initiative/opportunity to Vote Early was established years ago in conjunction with efforts to increase voter turnout as part of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which has come under constant attack to decrease such efforts as noted by challenges to Sec 4 and Sec 5 of the VRA.
“Voting is a critical part of any free democracy and we certainly encourage all registered voters in Maricopa County or the county in which they live to consider voting early if possible or going to their designated polling place on election day and casting their ballot,” Said Cloves Campbell, Jr., the director of the Arizona Commission on African American Affairs and a co-sponsor of the SSSEV-GOTI.
“Voting is a right granted by the 15th Amendment of the Constitution,” began Arizona State Conference NAACP President Charles Fannie, adding “Throughout history that right has come under attack however, each time the resolve of those concerned about true freedom, equality, and civil rights for all have worked to ensure the voting process continues.”
Fannie and Campbell have both thrown their full support behind the SSSEV-GOTVI and encourage members of the community to come out and bring a friend on October 29, to take full advantage of this opportunity to Vote Early.
“I have worked the polls on election day and we always hope for a great turnout and sometimes people have to wait,” shared Princess Lucas-Wilson (a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc), adding, “I started voting early so that I could work the polls and assist in the process, it is a long day, but worth the effort. I encourage my family members to vote early and work the polls or drive family and friends to the polls.”
“We are absolutely encouraging our membership to support the SSSEV-GOTVI,” Confirmed Andrew (Herc) Davis, current Basileus of the Phoenix graduate chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Said Davis, “Brother Clyde Miller, is on it. He has circulated the information and we are encouraging not only Omegas’ but all Black Greeks (Sororities and Fraternities) to join in this tremendously important effort to get out the vote.”
“When you vote, you are not only taking an active role in democracy, you are letting your voice be heard,” shared Pastor Reginald Walton of Phillips Chapel CME Church, a supporter of the SSSEV-GOTVI, adding, “Too much has gone into our gaining the vote to sit back and not exercise your right as a citizen of this country. Every vote does count and if a person does not vote, they do not have a right to complain,” noted Walton.
Writers note: To participate in the Super Soul Saturday Early Voting –GOTVI, bring your ID, e.g., driver’s license, or voter registration card, or government ID with a picture or a bill dated within the past 30-45 days (water, electric, phone bill, etc) with your name, current address listed. (The bill only verifies your current address – and should be recent).
If you are unsure if you are registered to vote in Maricopa County visit www.maricopa.gov or call (602) 506-1511, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. If you live outside Maricopa County in any of the other (14) Counties – Contact the Secretary of State’s Office at azsos.gov/elections for your County Recorders Officer and inquire about your voting status.