Tuesday, March 21, 2006
One New Orleanian, One Vote
I have voted in every election since I first registered at 18 years old. Me, my parents and siblings would all go together at one time and get our vote on. One of the coolest things ever was talking with everybody in the house about who they were going to vote for and discussing it. Now, sometimes there wasn't a candidate that I liked so I just signed the register and walked in and out of the booth. As a black man from the South, I take voting seriously. This may sound like a tired cliche but people really did die for us to have that right. So whether you care about politics, or even like one of the candidates, you should at least show up and sign the register as voter.
With that being said, I am not sure if I can vote in the upcoming mayor's race or not. My voting district was destroyed. I don't live in the same place I did before Katrina. So where am I supposed to vote? What about the people who didn't vote before? What about the people way up in Utah and places like that who probably didn't know the deadline for filing absentee? I am not a fortune teller but I can predict the future of this election next month. This New Orleans election is going to make what happened in Florida look like child's play. No one is going to know the rules and people are going to be turned away. No matter who wins, someone is going to contest the results. There was a simple and fair way to handle this.....Every registered voter that lived in the city before the storm should have the opportunity to vote no matter where they are. Remote stations should have been sent to any place with more than 1000 evacuees. Parts of Texas, Jackson Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia should have all had remote polling places. The evacuees in those cities should have been shown their ID and made to sign the register just like they do in New Orleans when voting. People in other places should be given 60 days to cast an absentee ballot or go to city and vote. I haven't thought too many issues or decisions were racist since the storm but this one smells like it.
Black voters in this country are always being disenfranchised by some technicality. We can look at Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 as examples. I am sure there are hundreds more on a smaller scale that we never hear about nationally. Plus, we all know a man that has paid his debt to society should not be punished for the rest of his life by not being allowed to participate in the voting process. Now, nature is going to cause thousands of people who would have had a say in the future in their city to sit back and not have a voice. It's a damn shame that I will be penalized for the direction of a hurricane and faulty federal levees. If anyone from New Orleans is not allowed to vote for any reason other than not being registered in the first place, the entire election should be challenged legally and taking all the way to the Supreme Court if possible.