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Had Enough? Vote.

The 2020 presidential election provides the opportunity for you to usher in positive change in this critical juncture in American history. The Gantt Center is focusing the next 60 days on informing and inspiring generations of voters.

Voting has always been a tool of activism. In spite of disenfranchisement efforts that uncannily harken back to mid-20th century struggles, we have fought for our rights in this country through the ballot. The Civil Rights Movement speaks generously to both the influence and significance of civil participation. Through support of John F. Kennedy at the polls in 1960, his presidency and that of his predecessor Lyndon B. Johnson ushered in executive orders and Civil Rights Acts that greatly furthered the movement. Contrary to some uninformed beliefs, Black Americans have a high percentage of voter turnout consistently between 55-65% percent for the past 30 years - a percentage that up until 2016, kept growing.

The 2012 election year saw a record 66.6% turnout of eligible Black voters. Hope was in the air as president Barack Obama took office for a second term. A mere 4 years later, the voting percentage of Black people dropped to 59.6% in the 2016 election. Hope took a turn in the opposite direction, as the Black community saw a system that did not value their needs and objectives. Imagine if that 7% turned out to vote in 2016, especially considering the margin of victory in that year’s election. The preceding 4 years may have developed differently. The disillusionment of the American government system within our community is not new - yet this year we cannot allow hopelessness to transfer into unresponsiveness.

This election season, the Harvey B. Gantt Center focuses our efforts and resources to highlight both the voting process and its momentous impact on our future. Starting with Unmasked: Voting While Black on September 8th, our Unmasked conversations will provide voters with the tools they need for an educated vote. We compare and contrast the history of voter suppression with contemporary attempts, and discuss ways we can be best prepared against any odds. Hear from experts in law, politics, and social activism for a fully integrated understanding of voting as a means of change. Join upcoming conversations with former and current elected officials for firsthand perspectives that delineate what you are entitled to as a constituent. We will also activate all of our platforms with helpful resources - from links to register and request ballots, to articles that outline the importance of our civic duty.

Finally, as an act of commitment to the movement, the Gantt Center has declared November 3, 2020 a holiday for staff to volunteer as election workers across Mecklenburg County. We hope to empower voters of all backgrounds to amplify their vigorous desire for movement in the right direction. Join the movement with us.

Election Dates & Deadlines

  • Voter registration deadline — Friday, October 9 at 5 pm
  • Absentee ballot request deadline — Tuesday, October 27 at 5 pm
  • Absentee ballot postmark deadline — Tuesday, November 3
  • Absentee mail received at Board of Elections office — Friday, November 6 at 5 pm
  • Early voting — Thursday, October 15 - Saturday, October 31
  • Election day — Tuesday, November 3

Resources

Additional Reading

Videos

  • How to Vote by Absentee Ballot in North Carolina This Fall

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