I’m so grateful that Kyle Walker is sharing with us today as a guest blogger on Smuggling Grace. As Kyle shares below, he recently witnessed some injustices at his voting precinct and was concerned about voting access. This week, he posted three live videos on Facebook about these experiences, and he shared what we can do if we witness similar challenges. He shares more about this today. You can also watch his videos below.
Voting. I, for one, will admit to you that I love to vote. I mean, if I could, I would vote multiple times an election. I am not saying I would do that to influence the election in an unjust way. In fact, you can count my vote only the first time but just let me go back again and again. I get a rush when I’m done. For me, it’s like popping those air bubbles in packing wrap. It is only surpassed by my love of Star Trek and board games.
But, seriously, ever since I could vote, I have. Then after years of wanting more of this suffrage delight, I figured out how to be a Deputy Voter Registrar and an Election Judge. I got to live vicariously through other people getting to vote for the first time or making their way through the process again and helping them with questions and concern. When you can’t vote twice, help others vote once!
Big reveal: I’m a pastor. Don’t run. No four spiritual laws and Roman road will be hitting you like bird poop at the beach. I promise. But, I find voting is one of the easiest, least intrusive, and meaningful ways for me to live into my beliefs that we are called to help lift up the oppressed and ensure their agency. A) I can vote for people who will care about policies that lift all people up. And B) I can make sure all people have their rightful agency at the ballot box.
This year, after moving to a new county, I waited too late to sign up to be an election judge. Bummer. So, on the first day of early voting I went to vote when the polls opened at 8 a.m. I wasn’t the first there. There were five people ahead of me in line. I noted that there were four women and a guy who I think would happily join me in board games and Star Trek. Note: I’m shy.
One of them was an African-American woman, and once she approached, she was told that was not in the voter registry. She had to step out of line while they called the county clerk to verify her status. The middle age woman in front of me was shamed because only her middle initial was on her driver’s license while her middle name was spelled out on the voter registry. Wha what? I overhead the African-American woman being referred to as “this person” and I just shut down in disbelief.
Reflecting after I walked out, I made a few live feeds on my Facebook page to help people understand how to avoid this mayhem and who to report to at the Department of Justice. I filed a report myself. A person named Bruce contacted me afterward. He helped me and was so grateful and helpful. Our government actually does work beautifully sometimes.
I know it is cliché, but please do this. If you see something, say something. ay it to the election judges at the moment and then to the Department of Justice if it isn’t resolved. Here’s a link to their web complaint form (they called me back in two hours).
It’s fun. It’s empowering. Go vote and help others do the same.
Kyle Walker is the pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. He loves horror movies, old churches, cooking, sci fi, traveling, the outdoors, public transit, and long talks about dangerous topics like politics and religion with his partner Nelis.
Here are links to Kyle Walker’s Facebook Live Videos this week. Please watch and share.
Voted early but disturbing.
Early voting in Texas, day 2.