LETTER TO THE EDITOR: North Carolina Board of Elections “emergency proposals”

FILE - This is a Jan. 27, 2020 file photo of The Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court has ruled that juries in state criminal trials must be unanimous to convict a defendant, settling a quirk of constitutional law that had allowed divided votes to result in convictions in Louisiana and Oregon. The justices’ vote Monday overturned the conviction of a Louisiana man who is serving a life sentence for killing a woman after a jury voted 10-2 to convict him. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Almost 20 years ago, after many years of strongly held personal conflict between my natural political philosophy and the coalition politics of the Democratic Party, I became a Republican. During my 30 years as a Democrat, I became relatively active in local and statewide North Carolina politics. 

In 1964, I was 17 years old. My parents were to a high degree politically engaged. I had a very outspoken high school teacher who inspired us to believe in the concepts of freedom and limited government bravely defended by our Founders. 

Martin Luther King Jr‘s March on Washington took place on my 16th birthday. I loved my black friends and held them in high regard. These men worked, and some just comfortably “hung out,” at my father’s business. They felt the welcoming spirit of my father. Many years later, while running for the office of Superior Court judge, I asked a black man and his wife to vote for me. He looked at me and said: “My wife and I will definitely vote for you. Your father put me to riding when nobody else would.“ 

While actively engaged in the Democratic party over the years, I was in the middle of the “party politics.” I ran successfully for the offices of mayor of Farmville, District Court judge and Superior Court judge. The black block vote was overwhelmingly Democratic. When running for the countywide offices of judge, I slowly became aware of the subtle and methodical manipulation and intimidation of black voters employed by Democratic black and white political leaders.

The Civil Rights Voting Act of 1964 had rightfully removed the legal impediments imposed by state governments to prevent blacks from exercising their right to vote given to them by the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Upon the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, the Democratic Party very quickly employed measures to harness the black vote that had historically been Republican.  

Today’s proposals for pandemic voting reform are a radical, unashamed and ominous attempt to ensure the black block vote for the Democrats through the manipulation and intimidation of blacks. The Democrats intend to not lose this opportunity of the pandemic crisis to further their goal of diminishing our freedoms and obtaining more power through big government over our lives.

Just imagine the silent manipulation and sometimes overt intimidation of blacks and the elderly as these voters are pressured by “friends” and deacons and fellow church members and others to sign their absentee ballots. Imagine the pressure to get on the bus with their marked ballots to be hauled to the voting booth. We all know that this is the method of the Democratic Party to obtain a black block vote; yet, we fail to speak because we are intimidated by political correctness.

Purely and simply the “emergency powers” proposed by the North Carolina Board of Elections, controlled by the Democratic Party, are a blatant attempt to use the present pandemic crisis to rob the individual black voter of the privilege to vote secretly for the candidate of their choice. Under the Board’s radical proposals, students and those who would treat others roughly will be employed to harvest and harness the vote of primarily blacks and the elderly. Purely and simply these “emergency powers” are an effort to grab the election of local and state Democrats and the Electoral College vote. This is the plan of Eric Holder and William Barber and others to see that the folks “do right” and ensure the election of candidates who are the choices of Eric Holder and William Barber.

All voters are entitled to an individual secret ballot in order that they may vote their own conscious and convictions and vote for the candidate of their individual choice. This is a fundamental right of all citizens, both white and black. As a state and a nation, we must be vigilant to protect the individual citizen’s right to a secret ballot and to protect the integrity of our elections. This is a paramount principle of a democratic republic.

Wilton Russell “Rusty” Duke, Jr.
Superior Court Judge (Ret.)