1,000 signatures reached
To: Chairman Jim Kimel, Jr. & Director Charlie Collicutt, Guilford County Board of Elections
#LetAggiesVote: Stop Erasing Aggie Voices
We want the Guilford County Board of Elections to put a polling location on North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s (NC A&T) campus for Early Voting during the 2020 Primary election.
Why is this important?
Six states, one territory, six relocations and an adolescence filled with diverse experiences have all led me here, North Carolina A&T State University. I’ve come here to major in political science in search for answers to questions I did not know how to ask as a child. Why did I walk one way to get home from school but all my black friends would walk the other way when I lived in New Jersey? Why were my white classmates and teachers in Kansas filled with such hate and anger during the 2016 election? Why did I witness two elections in which my parents' vote, along with the popular vote, was ignored? I went running for answers. While I found some of the answers I was looking for in the classroom, the root of the problem stemmed from the place I wish to soon call home.
NC A&T has a rich history of political activism. On February 1st 1960, four brave young aggies fought to have a seat at the lunch counter to ensure that the voices and concerns of their community would be heard. These sit ins were not just about having a seat where others sat but having their voices heard equally along with their counterparts. They had the understanding that if you’re not at the table, you're on the menu. Today we are asking you to give us a better chance to be heard during these turbulent times in America.
Being disenfranchised, silenced, and ostracized is not a new phenomenon for our majority minority students. However, simply because it has become the norm, does not mean we will allow this disenfranchisement to continue any longer. A&T has been the subject of controversial partisan gerrymandering in recent years, but shifting voting ID laws and the loss of its early voting location have made it increasingly difficult for the school’s nearly 12,000 students to participate fairly in the democratic process. To top it off, the primaries are being held during our spring break. Not allowing us to have an early voting site on campus, with election day during spring break, would discourage students from voting. This is in spite of the fact that civic engagement on campus is growing; from 2014 to 2018 A&T voter turnout increased by 51% in the midterms. This trend would continue if there were not so many efforts to suppress our vote.
By allowing us to have an early voting precinct on campus you allow us to play a part in this democracy that we have historically been kept from doing. A democracy works best when everyone has a voice and can speak on issues that affect their everyday lives. By putting an early voting site on NC A&T’s campus, you are telling me and 12,000 students that our voice matters in these supposedly fair and free elections. You are telling us whether we come from in state, or out of state, that Greensboro, NC is our home for the next four or more years of our lives. This would establish that when we are in Guilford County, we are at home where we will always have a spot at the table and we will never be silenced.