LAURINBURG — The Scotland County branch of the NAACP is inviting the public to take part in a non-partisan “Souls to the Polls” voter engagement campaign on Saturday.
The event will begin with a march at 9 a.m. from the A.B. Gibson Center to the Scotland County Board of Elections office. Line-up for the march — at the Gibson Center at 322 South Main St. — will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Scotland County NAACP President Herman Tyson said participants will cast early ballots after arriving at the elections office.
“This is an extremely important election for North Carolina and for Scotland County,” Tyson said. “We have a chance to elect local officials along with judges, the governor and even the next president. We need to make sure we have the right individuals helping fund our schools, bring jobs to our communities and protect our right to vote.”
Tyson said NAACP officials also want to help people navigate some of the new voter laws in North Carolina, including the voter ID requirement. Voters will be asked to provide a driver’s license, current U.S. passport, veteran’s ID card, military ID card, or tribal ID among other acceptable forms of identification, but those without a valid ID may still cast a ballot — through a provisional ballot or an absentee ballot.
“We want to push early voting as a way to avoid long lines and give voters extra time in case there are any problems with ID or registration.”
The 10-day early voting period for the March 15 Democratic and Republican primaries starts today.
Early voting will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. today and Friday and 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday. On March 7-8, early voting will be open from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. From March 9-11, hours will be 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The final day of early voting, March 12, will run from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
All early voting will be at the Scotland County Board of Elections at the county annex on Cronly Street.
The absentee ballot request period ends at 5 p.m. on March 8. Voters must return a completed request form to the board of elections to be sent voting materials. Absentee ballots must be either witnessed by two people or notarized before being mailed or hand delivered to the elections board.
Absentee ballots should be returned to the Board of Elections by 5 p.m. March 14 or postmarked by March 14 and returned no later than March 18.
The state NAACP hosted a similar event last month as part of its “It’s Our Time, It’s Our Vote GOTV” campaign following the Moral March on Raleigh. The effort was organized by the NC NAACP and Democracy North Carolina to help train people how to become “Faith Ambassadors” and lead voter registration, education, mobilization, and protection campaigns in their faith center.
Tyson said organizers would like to involved more than 30,000 religious organizations across the state.
“As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “NOW is the time to make real the promise of democracy,” Tyson said. “That’s what we are trying to do.”
Saturday’s march is also in remembrance of “Bloody Sunday” — the civil rights march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama named after some of the 600 marchers were beat with billy clubs by law enforcement officer. Nearly 50 people were hospitalized.
Those that want information or to get involved can email [email protected] and write “Our Time Our Vote” in the subject line.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023