Good Trouble

Voting Rights Include Safe Voting Rights

“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

— John Lewis at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020.

In many ways, redeeming the soul of America includes those leaders, both well-known and grassroots, who produced such “Good Trouble” in Alabama that they changed the nation in ways that were heard across the world.

Today, GBM and others continue those efforts to remove barriers to voting, especially under conditions of the COVID-19 emergency.

No one should have to choose between their health – and the health of their families – and their right to vote.

As of now, one small victory has been won. On July 17, 2020, secretary of State John Merrill issued “Emergency Rules” that state:

“any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their voting place for the General election on November 3, 2020 due to the declared states of emergency, shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application which reads as follows:

‘I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls [ID REQUIRED]’”

Here’s the link to the order: https://www.sos.alabama.gov/sites/default/files/proposedRules/820-2-3-.06-.04ER.pdf

Here’s the link to the Absentee Ballot Form for Jefferson County:

https://www.sos.alabama.gov/sites/default/files/absentee-forms/RegularAbsenteeAppFillable%20Jefferson%20County-%20Birmingham.pdf

However, the NAACP-Legal Defense Fund lawsuit in which GBM is one of the plaintiffs advancing safer voting for the November 3 election involves much more than giving us permission to tell a “little white lie” in order to vote absentee. The trial begins on September 7th.  Why can’t the wording in Merrill’s order conform with the wording on the Absentee Ballot application?

Even today, there are many who take their sworn words seriously despite the frothing of leaders at the top. These are the people of “Good Trouble”.