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What is Voter Suppression, anyway?

What is Voter Suppression, anyway?

Like no other year we can remember, 2020 has been the wake-up call of all wake-up calls. We’ve stopped shaking hands in public and linked arms across racial divides. We’ve masked our faces and simultaneously cried out for change. We’ve withdrawn into our homes in fear and bravely protested in the streets.  This is the stuff of real change. And, as can be expected when things get shaken up, change is often messy.

As per our normal, real change is what we’re here for. Odds are, it’s what you’re here for, too (which is a huge reason why we love you so much).

If you’ve been following along in our emails and social channels, then you know about how Rachael and I have taken a dive head-first into educating ourselves about racism, anti-racism, and specifically about modern-day voter suppression. Our own home state of North Carolina has historically been a hotbed of political corruption that stems back in time for well over a century.  From bribing busloads of voters to racial gerrymandering and unjust political bondage, we cannot deny the facts: equal voter access is in a national crisis.

No Access = No Vote = No Voice

It is our firm belief that real change comes when we take every opportunity to vote. Without access to free and fair elections, our nation’s under-served communities are silenced and robbed of their right to have their voices heard in the polls. Frankly, it disgusts me that voter suppression even exists in our day of supposed equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws. As far as equality goes, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

Whether through purging “ineligible voters” from the rolls or removing their voting locations altogether, communities of color are bearing the brunt of voter suppression to this day. 

You don’t have a valid government-issued ID with a street address (as opposed to a P.O. box)? Your vote doesn’t count. You can’t get to your polling place during its limited hours of operation? Your vote doesn’t count. Your precinct was shut down due to “budget cuts” and you don’t have a way to get to your far-away voting location? Your vote doesn’t count, either. 

Sadly, those votes that aren’t being counted belong largely to our fellow black brothers and sisters. And that’s not okay with us.  The racial components of current real-life voting restrictions cannot be ignored any longer.

Meet Randolph County, Georgia

As of the2010 census, the population of Randolph County was home to over 7,700 people with a racial makeup of about 62% blacks to 37% whites. Over a quarter of this rural community lives life below the poverty line.  Spanning their 430 square miles of land, Randolph County residents nearly lost SEVEN of their NINE rural precincts in 2019!

In response to protestors who cried out against the closure of voting locations in predominantly African American areas,  The Randolph County Board of Elections voted 3-0 to allow the majority of their already-scant precincts to remain open. Due to the precincts that were closed in 2019, 447 white voters and 54 black voters were reassigned to other voting locations. 

Here is a case where, had the people not cried out, hundreds--perhaps thousands--of black voters would have been forced to travel to far-away polling places, and that’s only if they had the means to obtain transportation services. Thankfully, the situation received national attention and the people of Randolph County were given the opportunity to decide which precincts they wanted to keep and their elections board listened. Even still, the residents of this broad area are now limited to only seven available options for casting their votes. 

The closure of precincts isn’t limited to a single isolated county. In the last eight years,over 200 precincts have been closed across Georgia, and nearly 900 precincts have closed across the South. This trend has spread across rural, impoverished, and minority areas throughout the country. Whether the motive is to trim the fat from already-limited budgets or to intentionally decrease black voter turnout, the outcome is the same-- it’s undeniably more difficult for people of color to vote.

Vote For Making A Difference

Rachael and I cannot sit here as two white privileged women and not be true to who we are as people and as a company. We have to take action. In line with our mission for Holistic Habitat,  we’ve chosen to donate 15% of our profits for June & July  2020 to theBlack Voters Matter Fund.And, with much gratitude to you, we’ve already been able to  donate $8K from our June 8th promotion to fight against voter suppression. We’re doing this together, friends.

Your purchases have cast a vote that allows the folks behind the Black Voters Matter Fund to continue doing their essential work in getting people of color registered for the upcoming election.  Every human being in our country deserves the chance to have their voice represented at the voting booth.And, as if I even need to say it, this is a HUGE election year. If we all do our part, we’ll see a wave of change sweep over our country in our upcoming 2020 election. 

Let’s join together in voting for a balance of power and true equality across all lines of politics, social class, and race. This year will certainly be one for the history books, so let’s decide today what we want the generations of the future to read about us.

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