Robeson County residents will have the historic opportunity today to cast a ballot on a Sunday — and the spirit of an important cornerstone of this nation’s Constitution will be trampled on as that is being done.
You might be surprised to be told that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in this nation’s Constitution, but the document is unambiguous that religion is a matter of freedom, and should not be established or restricted by government.
There is a flip side to that coin: Since churches enjoy a tax-exempt status, they are bound to steer clear of matters that are purely political, such as loading people on buses and driving them to the polls following a sermon that includes implicit instructions on how to mark the ballot. Today the instructions will include a reminder that voting a straight ballot does not indicate a preference for president. There is little secret that will occur en masse across Robeson County today.
There are few tasks easier than casting a ballot in North Carolina. No photo identification is required, and there are 17 days to vote — 16 during the early voting period, when people can also register and then vote, and the day of the election itself, which is Nov. 6 this year. In Robeson County, there are four early voting sites strategically located, at the main Elections Office in Lumberton, and at satellite sites in Red Springs, Fairmont and Pembroke. On Election Day, voters don’t even have to leave their neighborhoods to cast a ballot. If none of that can be managed, an absentee ballot is available.
All that convenience comes at a cost to taxpayers while now putting some people to work on the Sabbath.
But supporters — primarily Democrats — of Sunday voting would have you believe that the 1 to 5 p.m. window of voting that is provided today is somehow critical, and that without it some people’s opportunity to vote would be suppressed. That is, of course, utter nonsense. Their mission can’t be camouflaged: It is to elect or re-elect Democrats, including President Obama.
The hypocrisy is underlined by this: Democrats didn’t lobby for a Sunday vote during the May primary, when Amendment One was on the ballot, and votes might have followed a sermon on the sanctity of marriage and the desire to protect it. Likewise, many Republicans who argue for a voter photo ID requirement — for which we do believe there is merit — are not purely inspired.
There are few things more dishonest than a political conversation about how votes are cast in this country. So we thought a dose of truth would be appropriate, especially on this Sunday, which is now an election day.