September 02, 2021

By Edward Henderson

California Black Media

 

For African Americans, the right to vote was won by the passion, sacrifice and bravery of many who came before us.

It is our responsibility to make sure we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our vote counts in every election held at the local, state or national level.

Here are five tips to make sure that our voices are heard (and our votes are counted) in the upcoming gubernatorial recall election.

Make Sure You’re Registered

to Vote

Visit VoterStatus.sos. ca.gov to confirm that are you are registered to vote in California.

If you are not registered to vote, you can register online or by mail to receive a mail-in ballot until Aug. 30 at registertovote.ca.gov. You can also register the same day you vote in-person at a polling place or vote center on Tuesday, Sept.14. You can find more information on the requirements for registering to vote here.

Know What is on the Ballot

If you are in favor of Gov. Newsom remaining in office, vote “no” in response to the first question on the ballot: ‘Shall Gavin Newsome be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?’

You do not need to answer the second question on the ballot if you would like him to stay in office.

If you are in favor of recalling Newsom, vote “yes” to the first question and choose the candidate you want to replace him on the second question.  

Vote early

For this recall vote, election day is every day leading up to Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. You may return your vote-by-mail ballot at any time, including on Sept. 14 at one of your local polling stations.

Return your vote-by-mail ballot properly

 To return your vote-by-mail ballot properly:

• Drop it in the mail with pre-paid postage.

• Make sure you are using a tamper free mailbox that does not appear damaged.

• Make sure your signature on your ballot matches the one on your voter registration. If it doesn’t match, your county election official will contact you to resolve the issue.

• You may also drop off your vote-by-mail ballot in-person at any polling place on election day.

Sign up to track your ballot online

To keep track of your ballot from the time it is mailed, received, and counted, sign-up at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/ to receive automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notifications about your ballot. This will keep you informed throughout the entire process.

Category: News

August 26, 2021

By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 

The late Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat, lived every moment of his life doing for others.

And, as the world knows, the Congressman gave every ounce of his time, energy, blood, sweat and tears, in fighting for all Americans to have the right to vote.

Family members of the renowned freedom fighter visited the nation’s capital, hoping to meet with lawmakers to push two crucial pieces of legislation to blunt voter suppression efforts in many Republican-led states.

 

“When you see something unfair and unjust, you have a moral obligation to do something,” Lewis’ niece, Angela Lewis Warren, told NNPA Newswire.

Lewis Warren joined her uncles, Henry Grant Lewis and Samuel Lewis, on the trip to Washington.

The family said they wanted to continue the Congressman’s legacy by pushing the “For The People Act” and the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”

Both pieces of legislation have lingered in an evenly divided Senate, where Democrats like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin have stubbornly refused to consider abolishing or bending filibuster rules to push the bills through.

“By any means necessary, they have got to get those bills passed,” Samuel Lewis, the 8th of 10 children in the Lewis family.

Samuel Lewis, who served for 28 years in the U.S. military, forcefully opined that Democratic leadership should abolish the filibuster if needed to pass critical legislation.

“I think they should,” he stated.

His brother, Henry Grant Lewis, agreed.

“Our dream is to keep the Congressman’s dream and to move his legacy forward,” Grant Lewis, a retired auto industry worker and the 9th of the 10 Lewis siblings asserted.

“That means getting up in the morning, putting on our boots, and catching a plane to Washington. Whatever the case may be.”

Attorney Barbara Arnwine, the president and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, joined the family in Washington.

Arnwine, who also serves as co-chair and facilitator of the National Commission for Voter Justice and other voting rights organizations, noted the racist history of the filibuster and agreed that Democrats must act to either abolish it or amend the rules to pass key bills.

“The filibuster is a White supremacist notion,” Arnwine declared, adding that it was created to suppress people of color.

With GOP-controlled states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas, making it difficult for people of color and other underserved communities to vote, the family believes Congressman Lewis would urge his party to protect what he believed a precious right.

According to the nonprofit Brennan Center, the For The People Act includes automatic voter registration and other steps to modernize U.S. elections.

It includes a federal guarantee of free and fair elections without voter suppression, coupled with a commitment to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act; small donor public financing to empower ordinary Americans instead of big donors (at no cost to taxpayers) and other critical campaign finance reforms; an end to partisan gerrymandering; and a much-needed overhaul of federal ethics rules.

Critically, the Act would thwart virtually every vote suppression bill currently pending in the states, Brennan Center officials declared.

“These reforms respond directly to Americans’ desire for real solutions that ensure that each of us can have a voice in the decisions that govern our lives, as evidenced by their passage in many states, often by lopsided bipartisan margins,” officials continued. “They are especially critical for communities of color. Racial justice cannot be fully achieved without a system in which all Americans have the means to advocate for themselves and exercise political power.”

If enacted, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would help protect voters from racial discrimination and vote suppression.

“We are going to keep fighting,” Henry Grant Lewis insisted. “One message that my brother would say is keeping the faith. Even though these current voter suppression laws have been put in place to deter us from going to the polls, we have to see what’s most important and go to the polls. And we have to do that with even greater numbers the next election because of these laws. So we have to have a big turnout.”

Both brothers and their niece spoke somberly of what they miss most about Congressman Lewis.

For Angela Lewis Warren, it was her uncle’s desire and ability to never leave anyone out of a conversation or a greeting.

“His ability that he had to make you feel like you mattered. I don’t care how crowded a room was or if he was talking to someone else. He could look in your eyes and make you feel like you’re the only thing that mattered at that moment,” Warren recalled.

“We knew that we mattered.”

Henry Grant Lewis said he misses the intimate conversations with his brother.

“We used to have early morning conversations when I was on my way to work, and he was on his way to work,” Grant Lewis noted. “Then, we’d have late-night conversations, and they were very real and very special. We had this special bond that tied us together, and he was such a family person who loved being with his siblings and talking with his great-nieces and nephews.”

For Samuel Lewis, it’s simply his brother’s presence that he has a longing.

“I was nine years younger, but we also had a bond,” Samuel Lewis recalled. “We loved to go to ballgames together and like my niece stated. “He gave everyone his attention. I recall being at Atlanta Braves baseball games, and I would go to my seat, and sometimes it would be an hour before he would finally come back to his seat because everyone wanted to talk to him. He was really patient with everyone, and it wasn’t fake. He was really genuine.”

 

PHOTO:  NU-JohnLewis-family.jpg

 

“When you see something unfair and unjust, you have a moral obligation to do something,” Lewis’ niece, Angela Lewis Warren, told NNPA Newswire.

 

Category: News

August 26, 2021

By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 

Martin Luther King III, Yolanda King, Andrea Waters King, Rev. Al Sharpton and others plan to march with more than 140 organizations and thousands of Americans on Saturday, August 28, to advocate for eliminating the Jim Crow filibuster and passing three critical voting rights bills – the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Washington D.C. Admission Act.

The mobilization comes just months after Black voters overcame significant barriers to the vote and organized their communities to change the course of the country — “and now ask that the White House and Congress do their part to protect our democracy and stand on the right side of history,” the leaders said in a news release.

It also comes nearly six decades after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights activists led the 1963 March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom, that helped establish voting rights for millions of Black Americans, African American leaders will again descend on the nation’s capital to demand Congress protect the rights.

 

Several groups have applied for permits to gather on the National Mall.

The National Action Network has organized a “March on for Voting Rights,” an event across multiple cities.

Other organizations that applied for permits to gather include “March On For Voting Rights,” “Douglass Commonwealth Coalition,” “Every Case Matters,” and “The Memorial Foundation, Inc.”

Since January, 48 states have introduced 389 bills “that amount to shameful, outright voter suppression, and many have already become law,” March on Washington organizers said in a statement.

“These laws suppress voting methods that enrich our democracy and lead to high turnout: banning ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting, reducing early voting days and hours, restricting who can get a mail-in ballot, prohibiting officials from promoting the use of mail-in ballots even when voters qualify, even criminalizing the distribution of water to voters waiting in the long lines these laws create.”

They continued:

“Racist, anti-democratic voter suppression laws amount to rigging the game. But in America, elections are not a game—and lives depend on their outcomes.

That’s why, on August 28, 2021, we’re marching on Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Phoenix and cities across America.”

The Douglass Commonwealth Coalition says they are marching for D.C. statehood, green jobs, and justice.

March On Washington says they are gathering to commemorate the great March on Washington.

Every Case Matters says they are exercising their First Amendment Right to march to the Department of Justice.

Reportedly, most of the events have a scheduled start time at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

On the website for the voting rights march, it says the event starts at 10 a.m. The end time for all events is estimated at 8 p.m.

Permits indicate that there are several gathering points depending on the group. The March on For Voting Rights will gather across from the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and end at the Washington Monument.

The Douglass Commonwealth Coalition plans to begin their march at Freedom Plaza and end near the U.S. Capitol.

March On Washington says they will gather at the Lincoln Memorial and the MLK memorial.

The Memorial Foundation Inc will gather at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.

Category: News

August 26, 2021

By Edward Henderson

California Black Media

 

With the California recall election fast approaching Sept.14, here are five important things you should know about it.

What’s on the Ballot

The recall election ballot will feature two questions.

1) Do you want to recall the governor?

2) Who would you like to replace him?

If more than 50% of voters elect to recall the governor, the candidate with the most votes to replace him will win the governorship.

Here is a complete list of the certified candidates from the California Secretary of State. 

You Can Vote Now … From Home

Every voter has the option to vote by mail. All vote by mail ballots come with a postage paid envelope. If it is post marked by election day (September 14th) your ballot may be cast at no cost without a stamp. Voters also have the option to drop off their mail in ballot at any polling place.

The Important Dates

If you are not registered to vote your voter registration must be postmarked or submitted online no later than August 30 for the September 14 election. You can conditionally register to vote at your polling location or county elections office up to the day of the election.

On election day polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Your Voter Rights Are Protected

The California Bill of Voter’s Rights has provisions in it that are intended to ensure free and fair elections across the state’s 58 counties. They include privacy assurances; voting assistance for people who might need help; the right to vote after polling stations close; avenues for reporting fraud; being able to vote as long as you have proof that you are a registered voter, among other rights.

If you believe you have been denied any of these rights or you’ve witnessed any election fraud or misconduct, call the Secretary of State’s confidential hotline at 800-345-8683.

You Can Track Your Vote 

A new online tool has been created to help voters track their ballot from the time it is mailed to the time it is received and counted. Voters can sign up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to receive email, text message or voice call notifications about the status of their ballot. To register, voters enter their name, date of birth and residential zip code. 

Category: News

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