MLK Celebration Shines Light On Voter Suppression

Carol Anderson teaches African American studies at Emory University. She is one of America’s foremost experts on voter suppression.

Anderson’s research has identified suppression that, she says, could have reversed results in key states during the 2016 presidential election. She also studies voter disinformation (election meddling), and the disenfranchisement of black women voters from the suffrage movement through the 1960s.

Anderson’s latest book is  One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying our Democracy.

Dr. Carol Anderson

All of which makes her an excellent choice to deliver the keynote address at Westport’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration. It’s set for Sunday, January 19 (3 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse), with an audience Q-and-A, reception and book signing to follow.

The event also includes performances by award-winning opera soprano Helena Brown, and students from Trumbull’s Regional Center for the Arts.

The importance of voter suppression — as we hurtle toward the 2020 presidential election, and voter registration lawsuits plod through the courts — is why, in addition to the usual MLK Day sponsors (TEAM Westport, the Westport Weston Interfaith Council, Westport Library and Playhouse), Anderson’s appearance draws strong support from the Westport League of Women Voters, and Westport’s 1919 Committee.

That’s a group of library staff and volunteers who have planned events throughout the year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

One Person, No Vote is included in the Westport Library’s 2019–20 WestportREADS program, which celebrates that centennial.

The MLK Celebration on January 19 is free. However, tickets are required. Click here to register.

9 responses to “MLK Celebration Shines Light On Voter Suppression

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    When voter turnout across all demographics is struggling to reach 50% I think a more widespread problem is voter “self-suppression.” In this issue as in so many others it’s easier just to blame someone/something else rather than just look in the mirror. I wonder what the results of the 2016 election would have been if voter turnout had been 80%.

    • Eric: voter turnout is indeed an issue in America —and part of that problem is how difficult we make it to vote in this country relative to some other countries that look to encourage voter turnout. For starters, why do we insist on keeping the day of actual in-person voting at voting booths on a weekday (which is a working day for most people)? Why not consider having it done over an entire weekend?

      In any case, thinking about that issue should not minimize the real problems that exist as a result of the types of voter suppression that Dr. Anderson has been studying—and I wish I could be there to hear her presentation.

      • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

        Thanks Fred…our comments crossed and I couldn’t agree with you more. Be well, Eric

      • If it was on a weekend, what about the retail employees that have to work all weekend? I say keep it on a weekday, but make it a national holiday (as many other countries do) and have all businesses closed (some necessary services ie. hospitals, PD/FD, etc would need to make reasonable accommodations for staff)

        Also allow mail-in voting nationwide, early voting, etc.

  2. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    My comment above should not be construed as denying or trivializing the existence or seriousness of external voter suppression and it’s disparate effect on minorities. I respect and applaud the importance of Dr. Anderson’s efforts.

  3. A WONDERFUL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE!!
    Westport does it again!! Please record it and ask Ct and National Public TV to air it multiple times over the next months leading up to the election!! I’m SURE SOMEONE OUT THERE is not only capable of creating a production around this but could take an Emmy for donating the time and the product to the People of The United Stares!!
    PLEASE!!!!

    • Actually an addition-
      This is the kind of thing that Staples could support a student group in accomplishing. Make it a total community project involving the town library as well!! Get community sponsors.
      Staples did that kind of thing a lot in the days that I attended school there. Class of ‘63.

  4. Thank you Dan for keeping us informed!!
    Thank you for the opportunities that you present for exchange in your community and outside!!

  5. Mary Lou Cookman Schmerker

    This is so important. Perhaps right now more than ever. Thank you Westport for hosting and encouraging. Thank you Dan for keeping us informed. Thank you Linda Sugarman for your support and suggestions to broadcast this far and wide and to engage the students at Staples.

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