Richmond Area SCLC opposes closing early voting locations
8/10/2023, 6 p.m.
The Richmond Area Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which represents Central Virginia as a chartered member of the national SCLC, would like to express our disappointment with and determination to address the decision by the City of Richmond Electoral Board to close two satellite early voting offices for the upcoming 2023 November election.
The SCLC has stood up to the injustice of voter suppression and disenfranchisement for more than 65 years. We will not turn a blind eye to an attempt to reverse the gains in voter accessibility and convenience that have been made on behalf of all the people of the city of Richmond.
To close the early voting location on the South Side of the city, at Hickory Hill, is especially egregious to those citizens who live all the way on the other side of the city from the Office of Elections on Laburnum. For many seniors it is virtually impossible to get to that location based on the current public transportation options in the city.
Essentially, this decision is a blatant attempt to suppress the votes of people living on the South Side of Richmond. Closing the office in City Hall is equally discriminatory for those who live in Shockoe Bottom, Church Hill, Fulton, Jackson Ward and the East End. While public transportation is more accessible Downtown than on the southside, not having an early voting office centrally located to many of the minority and young voters in the city is classic Jim Crow era voter suppression.
We are asking the City of Richmond Electoral Board to reconsider this decision and to restore the two satellite sites as early voting locations. We want to make it perfectly clear that we will use every available resource to address this decision if it is not reversed. We will attend meetings and express our disapproval at every opportunity.
We also will support any legal action initiated to address this violation of civil rights. Because the people of the city of Richmond have a long history of fighting injustice dating back to John Mitchell Jr. and Oliver Hill, we will stand on the shoulders of these giants to say, “The Struggle Continues” and we will fight the good fight to be sure that Jim Crow era tactics will never again be tolerated in the city of Richmond.
We invite all concerned citizens of Richmond to join us in our refusal to accept efforts to suppress votes in the city of Richmond. The Struggle Continues.
WILLIAM F. McGEE
Richmond Area SCLC
Editor’s Note: A week after voting not to open two satellite locations for early voting for this fall’s elections, the Richmond Electoral Board reversed itself on Aug. 4 following public outcry that led other state and local officials to point out the move appeared to violate state law.