Souls to the Polls, the innovative effort that started out with religious based groups organizing to provide parishioners with rides on Election Day Nov. 6, has been endorsed by the St. Louis Labor Council and the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council with three key suggestions:
• ONE: that unions consider doing the same thing for their members by organizing an internal transportation system and use their union hall as the focal point to help members needing transportation on election day and
• TWO: that union members take this issue to their own place of worship and encourage their leaders to join in the Souls to the Polls efforts. Information is available by contacting Pastor Traci Blackmon at 314-480-6233.
• THREE: union members wanting to volunteer to drive people to the polls can do so by calling 314-480-6233 and leave your contact information. Someone will get back to you.
To help anyone wanting a ride, Souls to the Polls has set up a one-call phone number – 314-480-6233 – where individuals needing a ride can call. The line is now operational and will continue thru Election Day Nov. 6 to take calls and arrange for rides.
Souls to the Polls was organized to counter the massive voter suppression effort by Republicans for this November’s election.
“As the right wing increases its efforts to turn back time and force us back to the past with concerted drives to restrict voters registration and disenfranchise those of us who are already registered, we must mount new efforts to fight back,” Pastor Blackmon stressed in a flyer outlining the program.
Souls began in Florida in 2008 where citizens were allowed to vote early. On the last Sunday before the election, immediately after services, the churches would collectively go to the polls and vote. In 2011, the Republican controlled legislature eliminated early voting on the last Sunday before Election Day, a deliberate attempt to suppress African-American turnout. Since then, 16 Republican-controlled states have enacted voter ID laws to suppress Democratic voters.