BALTIMORE, MD — Having your vote accurately and fairly counted is the foundation of our democracy. But historically, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have not had this right. In particular, Black people have had their voting rights under threat ever since the 14th Amendment was ratified and continue to have problems accessing the ballot and being denied their right to vote today.
In this month’s episode of the Thinking Freely podcast, Amber Taylor, host and producer, will be joined by Joanne Antoine, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland; Reverend Kobi Little, President of the Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP; and Dana Vickers Shelley, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maryland, to discuss all aspects of voting. The leaders talk about the challenges of voting during COVID-19, especially for those who have historically been disenfranchised, voting procedures that Governor Larry Hogan should be implementing, and what you need to know to exercise your vote by Tuesday, November 3.
Instead of mailing ballots to voters, like what was done in Maryland’s Primary Election, Governor Hogan has decided to opt out of this more efficient and safe procedure, adding time and risk by forcing voters to register for absentee ballots before receiving their actual ballots. Marylanders deserve an effective election system that guarantees that their vote will be counted. On the podcast, the leaders directly address how adding additional barriers to a system that already disenfranchises Black, Indigenous, and communities of color, communities with disabilities, and communities with low income is an explicit failure of governance.
Rev. Kobi Little of the Baltimore City NAACP said: “The United States cannot continue to hold itself out as a leader in democracy while decade after decade after decade disenfranchising Black and Brown communities, people with disabilities, communities with low income, and communities that have a political perspective different than the ruling party.”
Dana Vickers Shelley of the ACLU of Maryland said: “Maryland must safeguard the vote and guarantee our communities’ health during the times of COVID-19, because both deeply impact their lives and well-being.”
In addition, the podcast guests talk about the need for voting centers that are open for our neighbors with disabilities, voters with limited English proficiency, those who are younger and move frequently, people who have lower incomes, or individuals who may lack a current address on file with the government.
Joanne Antoine of Common Cause Maryland said: “Governor Hogan, if you care about not disenfranchising Black and Brown voters, if you care about the health of the public, remembering that Black and Brown people are unfortunately the ones who are dying at overwhelming numbers due to COVID-19, you will take action and mail everyone a ballot.”
Tune in to this episode of Thinking Freely, a podcast that informs Marylanders what the latest news is and what they can do about it, to take part in a lively discussion on what the next steps look like for Election Day. Listen here.