Political party

Effort to bring souls to the polls as early voting draws to a close

“I think it’s an important right that we should exercise. If people don’t do it, we won’t see the change that we want to see,” said first-time voter Eric Heard Jr.

BUFFALO, NY — It was a party other than Republican and Democrat that you won’t see on your ballot this election season, but rather a political party organized to try to raise awareness for the election at the Delavan Grider Community Center.

The goal of Saturday’s “Souls to the Polls” event was to engage voters in East Buffalo to try to get a higher turnout than a typical midterm election.

“Souls at the polls, as the saying goes, we all have souls, so get to the polls and vote,” said VOICE Buffalo organizer Tyrell Ford.

VOICE Buffalo was one of many community groups that participated and shared messages about the importance of getting the black vote out, encouraging young people to go to the polls, and more involving those who might be discouraged by the electoral process.

“For so long, some people didn’t have the right to vote. Our ancestors fought for that right? So we have to carry on the tradition,” Ford said.

“It’s really important for us to be here…when it comes to local elections, youth turnout is low,” said Alia Williams, organizer of VOICE Buffalo Vibe.

Williams, a youngster herself, hopes to convince others her age to exercise their Democratic right, but she’s not alone. Eric Heard Jr. voted for the first time on Saturday after turning 18 in January.

“I think it’s an important right that we should exercise. If people don’t, we won’t see the change that we want,” Heard Jr said.

Whether it was changing New York’s highest office or the six Buffalo Board of Education seats up for grabs in November, being the life of Saturday’s party meant exposing every race, from city court judge to Congress, through the State Senate and the State Assembly.

“It’s not just here in Buffalo, but it’s all over the country to kind of motivate people to go to the polls and feel good about doing it,” Ford added.

And as the party at Delavan Grider finally came to an end, his plea to voters was to remember your, “Voting just doesn’t stop on Election Day. [it] continues 365, 24/7.”