Suffolk Religious Leaders Reject Voter Suppression Efforts
October 1, 2012
Souls To The Polls
(Babylon, NY) Clergy, lay leaders and allies of LION, the Long Island Organizing Network, are mobilizing their members and others to reject efforts to suppress voting, particularly among minority citizens, in the coming general election. Part of their effort includes a voter registration rally entitled “Souls to the Polls”, taking place today on the steps of the Town Hall of Babylon. LION is assisting members and others in identifying voters and potential voters, making sure registrations are done properly, and motivating people to not only vote, but to get others to the polls on election day.
Institutions involved in the effort include the NAACP Central Long Island Branch, North Amityville Community Economic Council, and twenty three churches from the Suffolk County area. Organizers expect over 450 people to attend the rally.
LION Vice President, Bishop Andy Lewter of Hollywood Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral, said the non-partisan group does not endorse candidates, but it has begun working with heads of churches, unions, civic associations and other groups to maximize voter registration and turnout. “Here in New York, there have been some attempts at passing voter ID legislation; even if those attempts are not yet as threatening as in some other places, we still want to mitigate against cynical attitudes that discourage voting, and honor those who gave so much to ensure these rights.”
Rev. Elena Mayfeld, pastor of Tabernacle of Praises Inc. church, said “We can’t sit back and expect democracy to work, especially when activists have fought hard for voters’ rights. That is what this event is all about, motivating the public to vote and reminding them why it is so important. ”
Rev. Keith Hayward, pastor of Bethel AME Church of Amityville, noted that “This election year, in particular, offers very clear differences in candidates and philosophies up and down the ballot. No one should assume that the outcome of this election does not matter.”
LION is an institutional-membership group organizing for power to impact public policy on issues affecting their members and other low and moderate income citizens in Suffolk County.
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