Editorial: Be a 'Democracy Hero'

Posted July 7, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT

Democracy Hero -- NC board of elections

CBC Editorial: Tuesday, July 7, 2020; Editorial #8559
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

North Carolinians have voices and these days they want to be heard. They have taken to the streets in our state capital and in communities large and small throughout the state.

This year not only do citizens need to vote – but they have the unique opportunity to answer the call to be “Democracy Heroes,” helping make sure citizens get heard at the polling place.

Sure, people are protesting, shouting and marching, whether it is: more funding for public schools; “reopening” business and other facilities closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; taking down Confederate monuments; demanding 2nd Amendment rights; or ending systemic racism.

These peaceful and lawful actions: heighten awareness; get the ear of public officials; and sometimes even spur action and change.

But nothing, NOTHING, speaks louder than the brief solitude of a voter’s choice on a ballot. Nothing gets more attention from of a politician.

Typically a bit more than two-thirds of the state’s registered voters cast ballots in a presidential election. That’s 5.1 million voters this year. We need to do better. Because of the pandemic, voting for some will be challenging.  Still, that is no reason why voting participation can’t be record-setting.

Several typical barriers to voting ease have been removed. Now, for example, voter registration is online if you already have a driver’s license or Division of Motor Vehicles-issued ID. Just go here.

Voting in a pandemic presents plenty of challenges. But through the efforts of the State Board of Elections with funding from the federal and state government, there will be help. Elections officials are recruiting legions of “Democracy Heroes” who WILL BE PAID to help make sure those who want to vote, don’t miss the opportunity. This good idea is NOT partisan.

If you’re a Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Republican or Democratic party member – you can help. North Carolina want’s you!

Thousands of heroes need to step up to help staff the state’s 500 early voting sites; the 2,700 Election Day polling places; and provide direct assistance to voters who will be seeking aid for absentee voting by mail and other matters.

Registered voters can sign up for jobs to help in their county working at polling places during early voting and on election day; setting up and closing voting facilities; checking-in voters and providing the appropriate ballots. And they can give personal assistance to voters upon requests – such as obtaining mail-in absentee ballot applications.

Every county is fielding “multi-partisan assistance teams.” If you are a registered voter, interested in joining a team to become a “Democracy Hero,” just complete the online form here or contact your local board of elections here.

There is even a group that doesn’t have to be registered to vote but still can help and get paid. High school students who will at least be 17 years old on Election Day, can join their local elections board’s multi-partisan assistance team. The application is online here. State education leaders should be promoting this as an opportunity for a hands-on civics lesson.

Just getting to a polling place to vote will be an ordeal for many so they can choose to vote absentee, by mail. It’s easier than ever. Go online here for information. Or call a local county elections board and a Democracy Hero will be able to help out.

There is no higher calling in our nation than fulfilling our most basic civic obligation – voting.

But now there’s the chance to do even more – and get paid too. Sign up to be a “Democracy Hero” and help people in your community vote.

No cape required.

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