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John Lewis

Source: Bill Clark / Getty

Interview Conducted By: Renee N

John Lewis , Linda Coleman ,and G.K. Butterfield reply to the excuses people give, for not voting and highlight the important matters of taking the time to vote.

Some people feel that the idea of Politics can be boring, why bother ?

John Lewis : ” Politics control everything that we do from a democratic society, we must vote. People died for the right to vote.”

Linda Coleman : “Politics is anything but boring, and there are so many issues that effects your everyday life. If you are a student. If you are a parent. If you are an employee. If you are an employer. If you own a business, there are just so many reasons because everything that happens in your life is impacted by politics, and so voting is so important because you have a chance to your view represented by someone who you have supported ”

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G.K. Butterfield : “Boring is a poor way to describe voting. Voting is powerful. That is the way we express ourselves in a democracy. We have a Congress that makes laws and decides on how to spend taxpayer money. We have a general assembly here in Raleigh that passes laws and decides how to spend state dollars. So, its critically important that we decide who makes those decisions for us. If we don’t decide then other people will decide for us,  those decisions will not benefit our community.”

It been said amongst people that the candidate is set to win already, with or without my vote. What is the purpose of going out to vote?

John Lewis: ” We can choose who will be our elective representative, who will represent us in the congress. You have the power to give. You have the power to take away.”

Linda Coleman : “No that is absolutely not true. You never know who is going to win. There are so many races that have been decided by just a handful of votes. Some as few as two or three votes. Every vote counts. And remember, your voice is your vote or your vote is your vote”

G.K. Butterfield : “No, the candidates haven’t been picked. The  Democratic party has chosen its nominee. The Republican party has done the same. The purpose of the November election is for the Democratic candidate is to oppose Republican candidates, and each one is supposed to bring to the voters their vision for America. I am a Democrat, I know the values that we stand for the Democratic party. We stand for average, hard-working, middle class, low-income families who are trying to achieve the American dream.

We fight every day to provide healthcare and a higher minimum wage. We fight every day to make sure we do not balance a federal budget on the backs of low-income families. The Republicans by contrast have a different view of America.

They believe that the federal government should not be involved in the lives of ordinary citizens. They believe that it’s up to the citizen to fin for herself or himself, to provide for their families. That the role of the federal government is not to step in and provide a social safety net; that is very unfortunate but that’s the way Republicans think. They want to lower taxes which takes revenue off the table, so we cannot provide for the general welfare of the country.

So, we have opposing views between Democrats and Republicans. And so we have Democratic candidates who are running all across the country. The Republicans control the U.S. House Of Representatives, unfortunately; control the U.S. Senate, control the North Carolina Legislature. So in the year 2018; we’re trying to change the numbers. We’re trying to promote Democratic candidates; so,  Democrats can be in the majority, in both Washington and Raleigh”

Voting can take time out of my busy schedule, I really  don’t have time to vote. :

John Lewis :“You must take take the necessary time to vote. People died for the right to vote. I gave a little blood on the bridge of Selma, Alabama March 7th, 1965. I almost died to get the Voting Acts Rights passed”

Linda Coleman : You should always take the time to vote, because the few minutes you spend at the voting booth will impact so many years of your life. Voting is absolutely critical to the quality of life you’re going to be leading.

G.K. Butterfield : You know (um) voting is very easy in North Carolina. When Democrats were completely in control of state government we made sure that we had very liberal hours for voting. Not only can you vote between the hours of6:30am and 7:30pm on Election Day, but you can also vote early.

The early voting period has already started. It started on October 17th, goes through November 3rd. So you could go to your local early voting site. You can vote early and you can vote early while the lines are not long; and if circumstances are such, and you can’t do that, you can apply for an Absentee ballot.

You can go to the Board Of Elections website and apply for a (a uh ) Absentee Ballot; it’s very easy, you just feel out the form. You get two people to sign it and you send it in, scan it in, fax it in, or take it by the Board Of Elections. They will then mail you a ballot. You can sit in the comfort of your home and fill out the ballot and get it witnessed and put in an envelope. Put two stamps on it and send it back to the Board Of Elections. (And there) There should be no excuses for not being able to vote. We fought so hard, so many people offered their blood sweat and tears to get us the right to vote.

We fought for the Voting Rights Act. Not only Martin Luther King Junior, Congressman John Lewis, and others fought to get us the Voting Rights Act; so we can be counted in this process. (so uh) We should have no excuses. We don’t have an excuse, not to vote. Please lets vote!

We’re going to make a difference in this election. We’re going to turn this country in another direction. Democrats are going to stand toe-toe with President Donald Trump and we’re going to demand that Republicans in Congress(uh) take legislature that we’ve offered and try to govern in a bipartisan way. If not, we will be in the majority, and we will do the way it should be done.

I’m confident that the person I want to is going to win, and everyone I know is voting for my candidate. Why should I vote, she/he is going to win?

G.K. Butterfield : “I cannot tell you the number of elections that have been lost by one vote or ten votes. Every vote matters. When President Barack Obama, won North Carolina in 2008. It shocked the world. Guess what? He won North Carolina by two votes per precinct.Had three voters in each one of the precincts across North Carolina decided not to vote for President Barack Obama, he would’ve not have been elected, and I can not imagine where the country would’ve been at this point. Every vote matters!

Trust me in1876 when we had the presidential election it was a tie vote in the Electoral College between Rutherford B Hayes and Sam Tilden I know I’m going back in history but let me tell you it was a tie vote in the Electoral College and those men went in the room and cut a political deal that we fell for many years to come and that was the end reconstruction in the South to take the federal troops out of the South.

Ending reconstruction and Rutherford B Hayes did that to African Americans during Reconstruction that it took us another generation to recover from that decision and it was one vote that made the difference.”

Linda Coleman : “The person you want to win, may not win if you don’t vote. You have to vote. You have to vote for so many reasons. Number one, so many people have fought and died for your right to vote. You need to exercise that right. It is absolutely critical that we carry on this legacy because of what it means, and because of the impact. Voting impacts everything that we do, so please vote.”

John Lewis : “Your vote will determine the person who will win. You get out there and vote like you never voted before; and your person will succeed. Your person can be the next elected official the next Congressperson.”

Why is it such a big deal for midterm elections? I only vote for the presidential election, it’s the most important. :

Linda Coleman : “Midterms pave the way for Presidential Elections. They are just as important as a Presidential Election because elections have consequences; and when you vote for President you’re not only voting for that President but look at what is happening today. You’re voting for Supreme Court Justices. You are voting for so many other people who are not elected, but who are appointed by the President. Your Secretary of State who represents us in foreign countries; who represents us on Justice benches so it impacts every facet of our lives so make sure that you vote in midterm because it pays the way absolutely for what happens in a presidential election.”

G.K. Butterfield : “Midterms absolutely count, and let me tell you there are two categories of voters. There is the regular voter, to vote in every election; and then there is the unlikely voter, the fancy name for it is the low propensity voter. That is the voter who is as you say, votes in Presidential Elections and feels that they have done their civic duty. (But) The midterm elections, local election, city council, Board of Education, State Legislature, Congress; all of these midterm elections are just as important. Maybe more important than the presidential election.

(And) So that’s why is critically important that we vote in every election. We fought so hard to get the right to vote and for anyone to stay home and not cast a vote in a very important election is doing a disservice to the civil rights movement and to democracy. Please, my brothers and my sisters and my friends ;at Wake County surrounding communities please take a minute to go out and vote right now because the election on November 6th will be the most important election of your lifetime”

John Lewis : “Oh , you just cannot stay home and not vote. Your children, your mother’s, and father’s, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, your sisters, and brothers and others are depending on your vote. Every vote count. You cannot stay home it is too important, it is crucial that we get out and cast that vote.”

Final words to share and encourage the people? :

Linda Coleman: “I hope that you will vote for me, for Linda Coleman. Vote for change, we need change in North Carolina we need change in the 2nd Congressional District. Democracy is on the line and this is a free country, we need to keep it that way. So I will appreciate your vote.”

G.K. Butterfield :” I’m pleased to announce that to Raleigh and Wake County, that the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee will be descending upon Raleigh on Tuesday October 23rd for a Clergy and Community Summit.

It takes place at Watch Chapel Missionary Baptist Church on Tryon Road in South Raleigh. We expecting seven African American members of Congress to come ; including the chairman of the Political Action Committee named Gregory Meeks from Queens ,New York. Including the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric Richmond from New Orleans, Louisiana. I am the past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver will be here from Kansas City, Missouri; He will be giving a very powerful sermon about participating and then we have congresswoman Karen Bass from California . Congresswoman Robin Kelly from Illinois and we have other great members of Congress who will be coming. So, please come out to watch Chapel on Tuesday night at 7 o’clock.

We will talk about the Constitution Amendments on the ballot in North Carolina,  and how those constitution Amendments were very cleverly put on the ballot to try to lure us in voting for these Amendment; which includes an amendment that would require voter identification in order to vote we need to vote against all of the Constitution Amendments. (And) We will be talking about that on Tuesday night, it’s going to be a great event.  I’m so proud that the Congressional Black Caucus is coming to Raleigh, to have this summit and we need to respond in large numbers.”

John Lewis : “This election is the most important election of our lifetime. There are forces that are trying to take us back to another time and another place. We don’t want to go back, we want to go forward and create one America, one people. We have to vote. We must vote. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent instrument or tool that we have a Democratic Society and we must use; if we fail to use it, we could lose it.”