Tuesday, October 25, 2022


By: Mildred Robertson

Well, it’s decision time folks. The end to early voting for the 2022 Midterms is fast approaching and the November 8th election looms large. There are weighty decisions that Americans must make this November, and every one of us will be making one whether we choose to make our way to the voting booth, or we tap out and say that our vote won’t make a difference.

For those who choose the latter, nothing could be further from the truth. You see, all that happens when you don’t participate in the democratic process is that you strengthen the position of the person least likely to represent your interests.  

So not voting is actually a vote of sorts.

You see, someone will be making a decision about whether women have autonomy over their bodies. Someone will decide whether working Americans should have a living wage. Your elected representative will help determine whether a 15-year-old can have access to an automatic rifle, or whether it is all right to attack elected representatives if you don’t like how they legislate.  Someone will decide how police officers will treat citizens under arrest, or in distress.

Whichever party wins in November will decide whether you or your parents receive social security and how much. Elected congressmen and women will determine whether we pursue clean energy, or whether we aid Ukraine in its battle against tyranny. Local elected officials will determine what children are allowed to learn in our school system, and they will decide how much to invest to ensure all children get a sound basic education. They will even determine where parks and housing developments are built, how roads and infrastructure will be maintained, and whether there will be affordable housing in your city.

Don’t you want to have some say in who is making these vital decisions that directly impact your life?

There is no perfect candidate. Every one of them has some kind of flaw because each of them is human.  You are not going to agree with every stance a politician may take. You may even feel that all the possible candidates are inadequate. But one of those candidates on the slate will have sway over your life for the next several years, and the decisions they make may possibly influence the next several decades. Do you want to leave the decision about who holds the power to others? Or do you want to have a voice in who runs your community? Because someone will.


(You can register and vote during One-Stop Early voting, which ends November 5 at 3 p.m. in Wake County North Carolina. Election Day is November 8th.  Go to your local Board of Elections website to determine dates, times, and locations for early and election-day voting in the state and county where you live.)


Friday, October 14, 2022


By: Mildred Robertson

There is no one standing between America and insurrection but YOU! You have the power to set this nation back on the right course, and you can do it with your VOTE!

Don't sit this one out! VOTE BLUE in the 2022 Midterm Election. Your future depends on it.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

Fight Insurrectionists: Vote for Democracy!

By Mildred Robertson

If you were disturbed by the violence and anarchy of the January 6th insurrection you must make your voice heard. Vote to ensure that those representing you in the White House and in Congress believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. Vote for individuals who will support equal pay, a woman's right to choose, and an individual's right to love whom they please. Vote for fair housing and sensible gun laws. Vote for a stable and just congress that can stand up to anarchists and seditionists. Be a true patriot...Vote to save America!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Your Vote is Your Voice

 By: Mildred Robertson

September 9th marked the official beginning of the 2022 mid-term elections in the state of North Carolina. That was the date the state began to distribute absentee ballots to voters who requested them. While most mid-term elections have fewer voters than presidential elections, this year may break the mold as voters ponder issues such as voting rights, a woman’s right to choose, and an unbalanced Supreme Court. Many voters are aware that their vote this November may well have a lasting effect on both them and future generations.

Voters will have to balance tabletop issues such as the soaring cost of gas and food, as well as burdensome student debt that has blocked the upward mobility of many young Americans. Add to that the seemingly burgeoning border crisis and a radical right-wing political organization that threatens the violent overthrow of the government and you have a smorgasbord of issues that voters must wade through.  

All of these issues have energized voters on both sides of the political spectrum. Voter turnout in midterm elections has a tendency to fall in the range of 40% compared to the estimated 60% who vote during presidential elections. But it appears the 2022 midterm election is poised to break that trend due to a motivated electorate on both the left and the right who are anxious to cast their ballots in 2022, and possibly change the course of history. You must make sure that your voice is among those who make these critical decisions.

While it may be a daunting task for some voters to sort through all of these issues, and the various candidates who promote them now is the time to get informed. There are several steps you can take to make sure you are a knowledgeable voter who can cast your ballot based on your best interests and beliefs. 

You should first check to ensure that you are currently registered in the district and precinct in which you live. If you have moved, or have not voted recently, contact your board of elections to verify your status. In North Carolina simply go to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/. In other states, check with your local Board of Elections. Here in North Carolina, you can also learn everything you need to know about races on the ballot, voting dates, and deadlines, You can also learn steps you must take to vote by mail, early vote, or vote on Election Day. (Go to: https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/upcoming-election). You will also be able to download a sample ballot to research the candidates and other issues on which you will be voting.

In North Carolina voters will decide on one U.S. Senate seat and 14 U.S. House seats, as well as several state offices such as the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. You also will be making a decision on local judges and prosecutors, sheriffs, and county commissioners.

Again, if you do not live in North Carolina, you can get this information from your local Board of Elections.

Our national discourse on all the ballot issues we face is both broad and heated. Many of us have taken the battle to social media. While debating on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be gratifying, it will change nothing. If you want to have an impact on the direction this country takes, YOU MUST VOTE in the November election. Your vote is your voice. Make sure it is heard!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Imperiled Freedom on the November Ballot

By Mildred Robertson

As we approach the midterm election on November 8, 2022, many Americans are not sure they will vote, some question whether their vote will count, and others are oblivious to the need to participate in the democratic process. But Americans need to mobilize to the polls because this election marks the possible demise of a nation governed for and by the people. Literally, democracy is at stake.

The battle for America to be a truly representative republic has encompassed this nation’s entire existence. We have always purported that we are a nation governed by the people for their collective benefit. However, America has taken two steps forward and one step back as it relates to universal voting rights. At this nation’s founding, white, landed men were the only ones granted the right to vote. The Founders left the decision about who among us would have the right to vote to the states, some of which even limited voting to landed Christian men. It was during the early part of the 19th century when the right to vote was extended to all male American citizens.  

It was 1869 when African American men, most of whom were freedmen residing in the South, gained the right to vote. The 15th Amendment prohibited the government from denying a citizen the right to vote based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude".  But following the Civil War, the South instituted draconian voting restrictions to discourage minorities from exercising their right to vote. Efforts to deny minorities access to the polls have persisted in various iterations since that time. While black and white women along with other minorities subsequently gained the right to vote over time, many states have worked diligently to limit voting access to communities of color.  The challenge to voting rights served as an impetus to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

In response to that Movement, the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. The Act restored crucial protections against racial voter discrimination that included tactics such as intimidation, violence, poll taxes, and literacy, and other outlandish tests designed to discourage minority voting. While the Voting Rights Act was a critical bulwark against voter discrimination, over the years states across the nation have chipped away at the safeguards enshrined in that legislation. Many states continue to legislate voting rights practices similar to the post-Civil War era.

The late John Lewis took up the fight in his life-long battle to enfranchise all Americans; a fight which he championed until his death. His legacy legislation, The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill of 2021 (H.R. 4) is proposed legislation that would restore and strengthen parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, certain portions of which were struck down by two Supreme Court decisions; Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 and Abbott v. Perez in 2018.

According to congressional Democrats, Shelby County v. Holder gave states more leeway to pass even more restrictive voting laws, and the 2018 Abbott v. Perez decision opined that state legislators were entitled to a presumption of good faith when they drew maps that were clearly gerrymandered. Further in 2019 in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee Justice Samuel Alito laid out five “guideposts” to assess whether election laws were discriminatory under Section 2.  Voting rights advocates and election attorneys believe these “guideposts” would undercut future challenges to discriminatory voting laws.

Today, attacks on voting rights by states like Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina have resulted in significant state and federal court challenges against alleged inadequate voting access for minority voters. In fall 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court will decide two crucial voting rights cases that have the potential to upend our country’s current election landscape, one out of Alabama and the other out of North Carolina. Both could drastically limit the ability to attack suppressive voting laws, overturn discriminatory maps and advocate for voters in court.  A packed right-leaning Supreme Court may be inclined to enter decisions that further erode voting rights. Therefore, the only safeguard against restrictions on our freedom to vote is to elect legislators who will support legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

So it is a conundrum. Roadblocks to fair and free access to the ballot box exist throughout the nation. To safeguard the voting rights of Blacks and other minorities, it is necessary for those communities to vote en masse.  If minorities do not show up at the polls on November 8, 2022, we may well lose the opportunity to elect individuals who will support Voting Rights legislation.

Polls indicate that turnout for nonwhite voters is substantially lower than that of white voters. Even with a record voter turnout in 2020, only 58 percent of nonwhite voters participated compared to 71 percent of white voters. The failure of Blacks and other minorities to show up at the Polls on November 8, will have serious ramifications for us all. We must elect legislators who will represent our best interest rather than their own partisan self-interests. We must elect legislators who will enact fair voting rights laws like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

 Make plans to vote in the mid-term elections.  Literally, democracy is at stake. Your freedom is on the ballot.

 Vote November 8, 2022. (For information about early and absentee voting, contact your local Board of Elections.)

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Republicans Oppose Funding of Low-Income Schools

By Mildred Robertson

America struggles to maintain its preeminence on the world stage.  Fueled by an educational system that purports to provide universal education to all of its citizens, it is stymied by the fact that many Americans are not ready for the challenge. This is due in part to the countless number of minority and low-income individuals who do not receive the same quality of education as their white and high-income counterparts. North Carolina is among the states that have struggled with this issue and has recently taken front and center stage as the N.C. Supreme Court faces off with the state legislature about its failure to budget court-ordered funding to bring equity to North Carolina classrooms.

In the 1994 landmark Leandro v. State of North Carolina case, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled both in 1997 and 2004 to affirm the fundamental right of every child to have access to a sound, basic education. It is the court’s position that the state has a constitutional obligation to ensure all children have access to well-trained teachers and principals and equitable access to sufficient resources. North Carolina, the court said, has not met its constitutional requirement to ensure that the state does not fall short of this obligation. 

The case has been heard on all three levels of North Carolina’s judicial system and is before the Supreme Court for the fourth time.  The issue is whether statewide violations of a student’s right to access a sound basic education exist and whether the courts can compel the state to transfer $785 million to state agencies to remedy any violation they may find. 

The Republican General Assembly has refused to legislate the necessary funding to implement the plan. Now the issue is whether the trial court judge has the right to order the Leandro Plan to be funded. If the Supreme Court finds the trial court judge didn’t have the authority to order the funding and implementation of the Leandro Plan, then the case is dead. 

While there are many nuances to this lawsuit, the basic issue is that many North Carolina students continue to suffer under an underfunded educational system that provides disparate education to citizens of the state based on race and income. The political machinations by the Republican legislature to continue to underfund low-wealth school boards and deny a sound basic education to minorities is the issue. 

It is not due to a lack of revenue that the legislature has failed to finance the implementation of the Leandro Plan. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the state has a $6.2 billion budget surplus. Revenue projections for the current fiscal year exceed previous projections by 15%. That’s an increase of $4.2 billion dollars.  So for what reason could the legislature balk at implementing the necessary funding? Surely it would have to be more than the mechanics of how the judiciary compelled them to meet their constitutional obligation to provide all North Carolinians with adequate funding for a sound basic education. If that were the case, they would fix the process and fund the plan. Instead, the Republican General Assembly argues that this decision represents a power grab by a Democratic court.  More honestly, however, they just don’t want to implement the plan.  It is a plan they have fought for close to thirty years. 

North Carolina citizens get the short end of the stick while the courts and the legislature go round-and-round regarding whether the courts can mandate necessary funding. Meanwhile, another class of North Carolina public school children return to school this fall to a substandard education system that is under-resourced and anything but sound.