NAACP National President speaks at "Get Out the Vote' Rally at Emanuel AME

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Saturday Mother Emanuel AME Church hosted a 'Get Out the Vote' Rally  featuring the National President and CEO of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks.

It was a call to action as church leaders along with Brooks spoke from the pulpit about the importance of getting out to vote and encouraging others to do the same.

"South Carolinians literally have shed blood sweat and tears for the right to vote," Brooks said.

He also warned people to watch out for voter suppression tactics and to report it if you see it.

"We have seen no less than nine courts attest to voter suppression," Brooks said. "We have a federal court order a national campaign not to engage in voter suppression only yesterday."

This is the first presidential election in more than 50 years without the Voting Rights Act that protects from voter discrimination. One example of voter suppression happened in North Carolina. A group was working to purge voter roll calls, meaning taking registered voters off the list to vote.

This week the NAACP sued North Carolina due to those practices and a federal judge ordered the state and local boards to restore the purged voters.

"If people are fighting so hard to prevent you from voting it underscores the importance of voting," Brooks said.

The Seventh District AME Bishop in South Carolina, Samuel Green, says it's more than about just who becomes president. He encourages voters to look at the issues. He says AME churches all over have been holding voter rallies leading up to the election.

"If we fail to vote then we fail to have the right to complain after the election is over," Green said. "We have the right, let's utilize it."

They urge people to not just fight for change or speak for change, but to vote for it on whatever the issue may be.

"My voice is my vote, my protest is my vote, on Tuesday my march is my vote," Green said.

The NAACP has initiated a nationwide voter protection effort. There will be a Vote Monitor Hotline where voters can report efforts they see to prevent voters from casting their ballots. You can email or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report an incident or ask for help.

"To be able to walk into the ballot box and to vote... as a fulfillment of a right that you have because of the sacrifices that others have made is so significant," Green said.

Fore more information on how the NAACP is protecting voters click here.

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