Voters weigh in on ballot box access, democracy

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently came to Raleigh to discuss voter access.

Several people attended and spoke during the public comment period at the day-long event. NC Policy Watched asked a few folks they thought voter access meant to a democracy.

“It seems to me like it’s a very basic right – one person, one vote. There’s no other way in the world to have a voice in a big system that’s a lot of bureaucracies, a lot of cultural norms. Through that vote, I hope I can go say, and I hope others can go say what they believe is important to them and their families and their communities.” – Dana Courtney, 77, Alamance County

“Every human being that is living, breathing, has the opportunity to vote for people who can advocate for them in their situation.” – John P. Comer, 36, lives in Baltimore but raised in Raleigh

“As is right now, voter access is not very accessible, at least not to minorities and people of color, definitely not to disenfranchised people. We need a better process. This country has so many technological advances and so many people who are smart, there has to be a better way that they can include everyone.” – Karla Austin, 37, Fayatteville

“It means that every single American citizen has equitable access to the ballot box, and that access can never be taken away. It means that the right to vote is a permanent right acquired upon citizenship. For me it really is about equity, it’s about making sure that if you have the right to vote, you should always have the right to vote regardless of your circumstance, regardless of your choices.” – Heather Ahn-Redding, 39, Orange County

“Make it easy. Don’t make it harder. We just need more access, not less. That’s what it means to me.” – O’Linda McSurely, 63, Carthage

“Voter access would be the cornerstone of what it means to have a true and authentic democracy. It still debases democracy or the idea of democracy if people have to resort to extraordinary efforts just to exercise a fundamental right.” – Kevin Myles, 48, Atlanta, NAACP Southeast Regional Director, which includes North Carolina

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