Here’s a story worth reading before Tuesday, published on the Equal Voice for Families website. It’s about the persistence of the Gould Citizens Advisory Committee to overcome vote suppression in the tiny Delta town. Bill Kopsky of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, which has assisted the group, put it this way:
This is what our members in the Gould Citizens Advisory Council have faced and overcome in recent years. They’ve been banned from existence. Their mayor was publicly pistol whipped to try to silence them. Their ballot boxes were tampered with. They’ve had people literally stand over their shoulders to watch them vote. They had to sue to get city council members removed from office who admitted they didn’t live in the ward they were elected to serve.
They had countless pressures —large and small — to give up, give in and be quiet. And they’ve stood up to that resistance together, with dignity, with grace, with unbelievable smarts and with a principled, strategic, loving, inclusive vision of what they want their community to be.
This isn’t a story just about Gould but reflects the reality for many of our black, Latino or low-income communities across the state. This is what real election tampering looks like — it’s not voter impersonation but voter intimidation and suppression — and the solution is not voter ID laws but beefing up our neutral election monitoring, improving poll worker training, and making sure we have good voting equipment and processes in place. There are solutions to the racial divides, the education, the economic, the health and environmental challenges our communities face — they require a politics based on inclusion and opportunity to solve.
Yes, Tuesday is important. Read Keith Griffin’s story linked above. It begins with potential ballot box tampering in the last presidential election. And it mentions recent suppression efforts in Arkansas, along with some positive changes in election monitoring.
If the activists in Gould have anything to say about it, the outcome Tuesday won’t be rigged.