What can you do in 100 days? What can we do in 100 days? What will the mighty Eastern Region of Sigma do with 100 days?
Brothers there are exactly 100 days until one of the most critical elections occurs and Sigma has the opportunity to influence the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. There have been numerous public outcries regarding voter suppression as it relates to the new voter identification laws. With the release of the voter ID study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, a new perspective is placed on these controversial laws. The Brennan study indicates that the new voter ID laws “present serious challenges to voters without financial resources and transportation” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/study-finds-costs-associated-with-voter-ids/2012/07/17/gJQAlrcXsW_story.html?hpid=z5 )
During the 2011 legislative sessions, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that will require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and will be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain an ID or forego the right to vote entirely. ( http://www.aclu.org/voter-suppression-america )
The Eastern Region of Phi Beta Sigma is positioned to fight this attack on voter rights. The Social Action planning committee is committed to provide the region with accurate and comprehensive election information that is tailored to the needs of the Eastern Region. We’ve also developed an Eastern Region Action Plan. It includes both voter education and voter registration elements for the general election in November.
We need three things from the Brothers of the Eastern Region:
1.) Sigma must register voters. Work with your local board of elections to get training on how to legally register eligible voters and then host voter registration drives.
2.) Sigma must educate Brothers and citizens. We must know the local laws in our areas so we can intelligently answer questions regarding registration and voter ID requirements.
3.) Sigma must GET OUT THE VOTE!!! We must lead by example and make sure Sigma votes. We must also assist however necessary by helping others get proper ID (if necessary) for voter registration or Election Day balloting as well as help voters get to polling places on Election Day.
Each of the 3 items above has many steps. For example, in many areas the voter registration process now requires the voter to provide proof of residency via proper ID. For many voters this means a trip to the motor vehicles administration or another government ID issuing office. In most cases it also requires money to pay for the government issued ID. This is where Sigma can help. Brothers and chapters can host fundraisers to provide financial resources for those that want to vote but cannot afford to pay for ID’s. We can help raise awareness for those that need to vote via the absentee process. The absentee voting deadline is often different than the regular polling times.
The Eastern Region covers several key battleground states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in this year’s presidential election. As a result of these states and others that must have more unified support, Sigma can play a pivotal role in building support for a candidate. It’s our intent to make Sigma’s voice heard in this key election.
To build support in the mighty Eastern Region of Sigma, we have created a data sheet for the areas in the region. Each of the Regions areas are shown in the attached table. There is information on the current voter ID laws as well as links to useful resources. In many cases information is provided on poll worker opportunities. This is crucial as poll workers can not only make money; they have the responsibility to ensure that every vote counts. By becoming a poll worker Sigma can help turn the tide of voter suppression.
It is my sincere hope that we implement this call to action with a sense of urgency. If you have any questions or need any assistance please contact me at email@example.com Thank you.
Eastern Regional Director of Social Action