"If voting didn’t matter much, foreign governments wouldn’t try to influence it. And if voting didn’t matter much, we wouldn’t see efforts in America to make it harder for certain people to vote. Your vote does matter." - Kim Wehle author of What You Need to Know About Voting — and Why
Voting is a fundamental right for every adult citizen in a democracy. Richland Library's staff is working to make sure that every resident has the information and resources they need to successfully engage in the political process, ensuring their voice is heard.
Our collections, services and programming reflect the broad range of viewpoints and cultures that exist in our community, and we remain steadfast in our mission to provide customers with unfettered access to information and safe spaces for all.
For voters of color, engaging in elections isn't always easy or a guarantee. So how do people of color, particularly Black and Latinx citizens, effectively participate in elections?
Understand Voter Suppression
Opinion | How Voter Intimidation and Suppression Have Evolved Since the 15th Amendment | The Washington Post
“Voter suppression is any effort, either legal or illegal, by way of laws, administrative rules, and/or tactics that prevents eligible voters from registering to vote or voting."--Demand the Vote
Knowledge is power. Understand what voter suppression looks like and find organizations that are working to fight against disenfranchisement:
Fair Fight, founded by Stacey Abrams, "promotes fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights."
“There is a long history of oppression against Black Americans that holds us back from full participation in American society. We understand that one of the main ways we can change systemic racism is at the polls.” --Michael Jordan
Know Your Rights
Beware of misinformation about who can vote, when you can vote or how you can vote:
"In South Carolina, individuals convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor involving a violation of election law are barred from voting until full completion of their sentences, including any term of incarceration, probation or parole. Individuals convicted of any other misdemeanor are only disfranchised while incarcerated. While not required by law, it is recommended that individuals include proof of completion of sentence with their voter registration form."--ACLU SC
"If a voter is in line to vote before polls close then they have a right to stay in line until they can cast their ballot. But, sometimes election officials will close a polling place the second it hits the official closing time which is in violation of election law."--Demand the Vote
"Absentee voting has become more popular in recent years and 2020 is no exception, given the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. While voters could place their vote via absentee ballot in the primary in June, simply due to the presence of the virus, this is not the case for the general election in November. Voters have to meet certain criteria and there are guidelines for who can vote absentee and how."--How to Vote Absentee in the General Election
"Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy."
"When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American."
Books to Read
Start reading today with these curated book lists:
Voting is a fundamental right for every adult citizen in a democracy. This right has not always been guaranteed or given to every citizen. Discover the history and the people who fought and continue to fight for the power of the vote.