At churches across North Carolina, ministers took to pulpits Sunday morning with messages laced as thickly with pleas to turn out at the polls as they were with scripture.
Led by the local NAACP, black churches have engaged in months of voter education efforts and “moral Monday” events urging voters to go to the polls.
North Carolina went for Barack Obama in 2008, yet bailed on him in 2012. Now, with his popularity all but non-existent among many voters, Democrats are looking to drive up voting among blacks in North Carolina, who continue to have a mostly popular view of him. They hope to boost black participation up to approximately 20%.
The morning’s third sermon was delivered by Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP chapter … Barber never mentioned either Senate candidate by name, but railed against “politicians in the state of North Carolina” who have opposed early voting, have “attacked education” (a popular critique of Tillis because of his support for state education cuts), and those who have “tried to limit healthcare.”
“Almost as though they have been seduced by another spirit to deny healthcare and deny living wages and deny public education,” Barber declared in deep baritone, clad in a purple and white pastoral robe. “They do it just because they can! They give more wealth to the wealthy and they give more grief to the poor!”
North Carolina is home to what is considered one of this year’s least predictable electorates. The state was the only one in the nation to vote for President Obama in 2008 but not in 2012. They also helped elect a wave of GOP and tea party state leaders in 2010.