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Voting is topic of town hall at UMW

RELATED: See more UMW news

The Virginia Black History Month Association is sponsoring a town hall meeting at the University of Mary Washington Sunday to inform citizens about voting rights, voter suppression and voter registration before the upcoming November elections.

Chris Williams, communications director of the Virginia Black History Month Association and moderator of the meeting, said the meeting is being held to provide locals with an opportunity to hear about and discuss the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the voting laws being introduced in North Carolina and other states and how to register to vote in Virginia.

A panel of experts will share their thoughts on recent changes in the voting laws and how they affect citizens nationwide. Afterwards, the audience can ask questions of the panel.

Williams said he wants to raise awareness before November’s election since such state elections sometimes draw lower voter turnout.

“My mother works at the polls, and she tells me how paltry attendance is,” Williams said. “I find it shocking and wanted to do something for the region and state to get people out and voting. People are not fully exercising their rights.”

Williams said it is critical to get people civically and politically engaged.

“Too many citizens are walking around not knowing what’s going on,” he said.

He encourages families to bring children. Children, Williams said, need to be introduced to these issues early.

Panelists will include Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins, Fredericksburg voter registrar Juanita Pitchford, Stafford registrar Greg Riddlemoser, and representatives from Project Vote, Fair Vote, Rock the Vote and the League of Women Voters.

For those who can’t attend but still want to participate, the VABHMA has provided a teleconference opportunity.

At the event, attendees will have an opportunity to register to vote.

“Really, we need to have an open community discussion about what to do to get larger numbers out to the polls,” Williams said.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

 

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Voting Town Hall Meeting

WHERE: Dodd Auditorium, University of Mary Washington

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 6, 3 to 6 p.m.

MORE INFO: vabhma.org

REGISTER TO VOTE: vote.virginia.gov

TELECONFERENCE INFO: Dial-in number: 559/726-1000, and enter code 131990#

REGISTERED TO VOTE?

The last day to register to vote for a general election is 22 days prior to the election date in Virginia. That makes the deadline to register for the Nov. 5 election Tuesday, Oct. 15.

To vote in the commonwealth, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Virginia, at least 18 years old and not registered to vote in another state.

Register online at vote.virginia .gov or in-person at a local voter registration office, department of motor vehicles, state board of elections office or public library.

To find your local voter registrar office, visit voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov.

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