As it turns out, Black voters are justified in our months-long surveyed skepticism of mail-in voting. Although the intentional slow down of the United States Postal Service is confirmation in of itself, there were other, more specific concerns — like the fear that the mail-in ballots of Black voters would be rejected at a much higher rate than their counterparts. North Carolina has already tagged itself in to let it be known that familiar tricks will repeat themselves for yet another election cycle.

FiveThirtyEight’s Kaleigh Rogers reports: “As of September 17, Black voters’ ballots are being rejected at more than four times the rate of white voters, according to the state’s numbers. Black voters have mailed in 13,747 ballots, with 642 rejected, or 4.7 percent. White voters have cast 60,954 mail-in ballots, with 681 — or 1.1 percent — rejected. In addition, 434 ballots cast by white voters and 127 ballots cast by Black voters were marked ‘spoiled,’ which can mean literally spoiled or something as simple as a voter informing the election office that the address they had requested a ballot to is wrong.”

Rogers goes on to add that “the racial gap in rejected ballots is not a problem unique to North Carolina,” highlighting similar discrepancies in states like Florida and Georgia. 

Apparently, Democrats get it now, with headlines springing up like “Democrats scramble to soothe voter fears about in-person voting ahead of November election.” My issue with that is why are Democrats scrambling when they’ve had evidence as far back as May that Black voters were skeptical? More recent polling and results from focus groups showed that wariness continued for Black voters and extended to Latinx voters. 

As LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, says in that interview, “Maybe 98% of the Black people I’m talking to are not trusting mail-in voting. I think there is a major consideration around voting in-person.”

A lot more people into politics and would like to defeat the fascist game show host ought to follow Brown’s lead and talk to more Black people because again, this has been known for a while.

Hence, my frustration watching cable news all summer and hearing all of these predictions about potentially weeks-long delays in election results due to overwhelming mail-in ballots. Or the latest fear that comes election night, Trump will declare victory because all of his supporters will vote in person as opposed to Biden’s supporters. A lot of things can happen when an autocrat with cognitive decline but peak corruption instincts is determined to steal a presidential election, but many of these fears were rooted in fixating on the habits of white voters. 

I now understand that American news media cannot escape its addiction to horse race narratives around elections – even in a plague, depression, and race war – but it should have dawned on people at some point that Black and Latinx voters matter just as much as the white ones — even more so when determining presidential election results. Nobody should be scrambling to answer what’s been out there. 

Much like Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight, I really want to encourage Black people to register to vote on this National Black Voter Day (even if I understand the skepticism and apathy towards the process). But as far as the way to vote goes, we all have to contend with reality as is. The Trump administration is trying to kill us. The Trump administration is trying to steal the election by corrupting the Post Office. The Republican Party will assist them in their efforts when empowered in a myriad of ways — including the rejection of our mail-in ballots even if they arrive on schedule. 

Much as I loathe that racist buffoon Donald Trump and the equally stupid racist white men that majorly staff his administration, they have successfully corrupted the USPS. I would like to be hopeful about a federal judge issuing an injunction preventing recent changes to postal service, but will that stop the problem already happening in states like North Carolina? 

I don’t want anyone else to die because of Donald Trump, though, so if you can’t vote in person because the health risks are too high, I hope you ask for your ballot by the end of this sentence and make sure you follow every rule on it. For other Black voters, voting in person is the least risk averse way of making sure our vote actually counts. Please, I’m so tired of this stupid man.

To the credit of former first lady Michelle Obama, she used her primetime speech during the Democratic National Convention last month to speak directly to those concerns, stressing, “We’ve got to vote early, in person if we can” while tailoring her message to the times with cautions to “grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks.”

This is all Democrats should be shouting about from now until the election as early voting begins in other states.

Better late than never.

To check your voter registration status and where to vote, visit essencevoterhub.comessencecvoterhub.com.

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