BY JAMES HARPER
Members of a Daytona Beach Black clergy group are planning a large march to the polls the first Sunday of early voting for the general election.
Dr. L. Ronald Durham, pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, confirmed this week that on Oct. 28 he will be spearheading a massive effort along with the Rev. Victor Gooden of New Life and the Black Clergy Alliance to bring congregations together after church is over. They then will march and meet at City Island Library where early voting will be taking place in Daytona Beach.
“We have everything to lose if we don’t vote in this election. The way has been paved by our forefathers in the struggle for equality, and it would be a shame if their legacy to us is tarnished by staying home in November,” Durham said.
Early voting starts Saturday, Oct. 27 and goes through Saturday, Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. There will be five early voting sites throughout Volusia County. All sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“I truly believe that if President Obama is not re-elected in November that African-Americans in particular will see the erosion of many, if not all of the gains that were made during our struggle for equal rights,” Durham said in an exclusive interview with the Daytona Times.
Empowerment workshop scheduled this month
Durham also talked about a voter empowerment workshop scheduled at his church on Sept. 26 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Recent changes to laws regarding voter identification may affect a large portion of the residents in Florida, Durham said.
He said every church and civil rights organization that purports fairness and supports the equal rights of America’s citizens should be involved in helping to reach as many people as possible, and get them to the workshop to register, and make sure that their ID information is correct so that they face no obstacles on Election Day.
Supervisor of elections Ann McFall will participate in the workshop.
“We could not be happier to have the county’s chief elections official, Ms. McFall, being so gracious to consent to be on hand to assist voters with questions about registering to vote, voting by mail, and at the polls,” Durham remarked.
The purpose of this event, according to Durham, is to educate voters on what things will be required of them on Election Day “so that everyone comes to the polls with all the items necessary for their vote to be cast and counted.”
Oct. 6 is last day to register
At this workshop, voters will receive information on what to do if they have changed their address, changed their name, are voting for the first time, or are senior citizens who simply want to have their ID checked for accuracy.
McFall wants to remind residents that in order to vote in the Nov. 6 election they must be registered to vote by Oct. 9.
The Department of Elections will be open until 7 p.m. to accept applications.
McFall said registered voters should check their mailbox the week of Oct. 15 when sample ballots for the Nov. 6 race will be delivered.
“I encourage people to study their sample ballot and bring it with them when they go to the polls. It will be a six-to-eight page ballot depending on where they
live,” she said.
Early voting sites in Volusia are the Daytona Beach City Island Library, Ormond Beach Library, New Smyrna Beach Library, Deltona Library and the Department of Elections in Deland.
McFall is expecting a heavy turnout for this general election.
“Historically, turnout in Volusia for a presidential election is between 70 and 75 percent. The turnout in the primary election was around 30 percent countywide,” she said.