Ross & Pulpit Forum encourage votingBy Yasmine Regester, Staff Writer / October 28, 2016
The Pulpit Forum of Greensboro kicked off the first day of early voting on Thursday, October 20, with a press conference and plans to get voters to the polls.
“The church has a positive role to play in encouraging and helping our members to vote. As president of the Pulpit Forum, I want to insure that our churches do our part in this most important election,” said Rev. Dr. Daren K. Mitchell, president of the Pulpit Forum.
While the national presidential election is important, Mitchell noted, it is the local races that will have the most direct impact. Mitchell said voters should be aware of the candidates running for the GCS Board of Education, District Court Judges and the $126 million bond referendum that will appear on the ballot.
“It’s important we make sure the dollars are getting to the communities where we need them. The Pulpit From is very concerned about making sure economic development happens for some of the most blighted communities in our city that have been looked over,” said Mitchell.
The faith community plans to improve voter turnout with Souls to the Polls 2016, a campaign with Democracy North Carolina, N.C. NAACP, and the Forward Together Movement. The campaign is designed to bring members of different faiths together to encourage people to vote. According to Mitchell, about 20 churches have already agreed to help get their congregations to the polls either before or by October 30, the only Sunday voting day this year.
The Souls to the Polls 2016 Campaign is focusing on two major polling places in the city, Barber Park and The Dudley Building on the campus of N.C. A&T State University, two sites the Board of Elections board initially wanted to cut back in August. The board had also discussed eliminating Sunday voting, a measure that was not received well by Guilford/Greensboro constituents.
Guest speaker for the kickoff event was Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Deborah Ross. She will face Republican Sen. Richard Burr in the general election. Ross also spent the day talking with retired veterans who support Clinton in downtown Greensboro.
“I believe voting is a fundamental right that none of us can take for granted, and that our state and country are stronger when more people participate—not fewer. I fought to strengthen voting rights and protections in the State House. As early voting starts this year, I’m encouraging everyone to take a minute, commit to when and where you are going to vote, and then go to the polls and make your voice heard,” said Ross who noted that she hears the most concern about raising the minimum wage, student debt and economic security.
According to Charlie Collicut, Board of Elections director, an average of 2.8 people per minute were processed to vote on Thursday. As of noon, Oct. 26, 7,072 people have voted, which lags behind numbers for 2012 (8,549 people).
“We’re putting our faith in our feet,” said Mitchell.
Early voting continues through November 5 and voters are able to vote early with same-day, in-person registration until that day. The courthouse site is open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. One day of Sunday voting is on October 30. No early voting sites are open November 6 & 7. Twenty-four more early voting sites open on Thursday, October 27.
Visit www.myguilford.com for election schedule.