The Voting Rights Acts of 1965 was a landmark decision that leveled the playing field in guaranteeing to vote for men and women across all races, nationalities, and socioeconomic strata. Voting assures the freedom of citizens to contribute to the political orientation and policymaking of our country. Our Oakwood University United Student Movement reports that 800 eligible students have been registered to vote based on our Oakwood student 2018 registration drive.
Oakwood University (OU) stands with our faculty and student citizens as they bring awareness to allegations of systematic voter suppression reported in the current voting season. Three of our students were recently featured at a press conference on Thursday, November 1 at Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Huntsville. For two years Oakwood students have worked with Indivisible, a nonpartisan grassroots organization, the NAACP LDF, and the SCLC, who jointly called the press conference. Our OU students partnered with various organizations: United Collegiate Black Scholars (UCBS), OU NAACP, or acted as individuals in the promotions of voting rights. During the press conference, our Oakwood students shared their personal anecdotes regarding registering to vote in September, then mysteriously finding themselves declared “inactive ” or not registered. Tommy Ragland, Probate Official, verified, at the conference, that this was very true and very wrong.
We believe that every eligible citizen should be encouraged and permitted to exercise their right of franchise without unwarranted and illegal hardships. Voting in our country is not the privilege of a few, but a right for all. The acts of moving polling stations or sharing misinformation prior to and on the day of voting are unacceptable. This practice of disenfranchisement to racial minorities must be immediately halted or face legal action. We are determined that no eligible student from Oakwood University, Alabama A&M University, or any other institution, will be turned away, discouraged, or barred from exercising their sacred constitutional right to vote.
Leslie Pollard, President, on behalf of Oakwood University