The Roanoke, VA city council has decided that the best way to solve the long wait times for voters in my city is to reduce the voting precincts from 32 to 19.
Local television station, WDBJ7, has a report stating there could be a $10,000 per year savings if the measure were passed.
The Roanoke NAACP is rightfully arguing the change would affect the most poor and disabled and prevent many working people from casting a ballot if the wait times were increased beyond the half day (work day) most voters experienced this past election cycle.
The President of the Roanoke NAACP says if this plan is approved, the wait times could be even longer and many people won't even cast their ballot because of fewer neighborhood polling places.Roanoke City Council sees this as purely a cost saving measure.
“It costs us $30,000--over $30,000 to have an election. I think we could bring it down to $20,000. It could save us $10,000,” said Tinsley.Brenda Hale, President of the Roanoke NAACP, is opposed to the plan.
Hale says it's a terrible idea on several counts. “…Disabled, disadvantaged, handicapped citizens need immediate attention. They don't need to wait inside the polls sites or in cars,” said Hale.And, of course as many of you who are familiar with me know I had to toss my 2cents into the Frey.
Hale says by having fewer options, voters who count on neighborhood precincts won't be able to walk to their polling places. She also says people don't have the luxury of taking two to three hours off from work. “This is such a drastic cut--and a drastic reduction in polling sites. How can it possibly work if it's not working now?”
Back up for a moment and look at this as a business. You have so many customers you can't possibly get everyone through the checkout in a single day. So, what do you do as a business man? You lay off half of your staff and shut down nearly half of your checkout counters so that the majority of your customers can't shop at your store?It's just not right. How can a governing body move to deny citizens the opportunity or the ability to vote?
If I were the owner of that store and that was the solution to overcrowding my manager came up with, just guess who's a33 would be going through the unemployment line first thing tomorrow morning!
This is nothing more than voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Felony federal crimes and DOJ ought to be down on this and the City Council members who proposed it! It's one thing to try and rig an election, but to eliminate nearly 50% of the population from voting is criminal.
When I voted Nov 6th I waited in line for an hour. That was 45 mins more than it should have been. Now the city fathers think a voter should have to expect to spend an entire workday in line to exercise their constitutional right to select representation.
This mindset of not allowing people who disagree with you to vote must end. It must end now! We are not slaves!