Take Your Souls to the Polls: Voting Early in Ohio

March 6, 2012

During the 2008 presidential elections, many African-American churches took advantage of early voting to promote ‘take your souls to the polls’—programs that encouraged voting by taking church members directly from Sunday services to the polls.

Aaron Phillips, Sure House Baptist Church

Larry Harris, Mt. Olive Baptist Church

Emmitt T. Caviness, Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church

After record voter turnouts in the 2008 election, 34 states have introduced legislation to limit voting. In Ohio, H.B. 194 seeks to cut the state’s early voting period by more than half, and to prohibit voting on the last Sunday before Election Day.

Opponents of the law worry that if it goes into effect, H.B. 194 will make it difficult for many in Ohio to vote, particularly those African-Americans who got to the polls with the help of their churches.

The law still hasn’t gone into effect, however, and African-American church leaders and others are already getting ready to revive the ‘take your souls to the polls’ campaign.

Here, three prominent pastors talk about the importance of voting, and especially early voting, to their communities.


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