Churches using 'souls to polls' to rally vote
This year in Florida, a new election law eliminated early voting on that last Sunday, although there is a Sunday for early voting about a week and a half earlier. Dunn, the Miami pastor, said he expects most churches will shift to that earlier day, which falls on Oct. 28 this year.
‘‘Sunday in the African-American tradition is one of the biggest days historically in our community,’’ he said. ‘‘You have large numbers of people who go to church. Pastors aren’t saying who to vote for, but they are saying, ‘This is souls to the polls day.'’’
Florida’s law was also challenged in federal court, but a judge ruled in September there wasn’t enough proof that the change would harm African-Americans’ right to vote. The judge also noted that, unlike the previous law, the new rules required at least one Sunday for early voting.
Meanwhile, from the pulpit, some churches are even using a litany that calls upon congregations to remember the fight to obtain the vote as well as other civil rights. One such script distributed by PICO (it stands for People Improving Communities by Organizing) mentions the Rev. Martin Luther King, the bloody march in Selma, Ala., and many other civil rights milestones.
‘‘We remember thousands of little towns where countless, unnamed ancestors stood in their dignity to cast a ballot,’’ the script says. ‘‘In 2012 we will not be silent or denied the right to vote. For we have come too far by faith.’’
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