Throughout the last week or so, I have heard and read many comments regarding the mission of Let Asheville Vote. Many of these comments have begged the question: “Is this a group of Republicans with an underlying agenda?” As one of the organizers, I would like to answer that question with a resounding “No!” Let Asheville Vote is not party-affiliated, and we are not asking that you vote one way or the other on the partisan/nonpartisan election issue. Our only goal is to make sure that you get a vote.
Let Asheville Vote was established after Asheville City Council’s 4-3 vote on June 12 to return to partisan elections. A small group of us (representing many political affiliations) met at a coffee shop the following Friday and banded together to form the organization, in order to force the issue to a referendum vote of the people of Asheville—regardless of political affiliation or where they stand on the partisan/nonpartisan issue. Simply stated, we believe that this issue is important and we believe it is one that should be decided by the people of Asheville. We should—each and every one of us—have a voice in our local government(s), and in this case, we were silenced.
My fear in all of this is that the battle lines are so drawn between the two primary political parties, and people are so jaded by politics and politicians, that we are unable to see the benefit in joining together simply as residents of Asheville to make some positive changes that will benefit our city as a whole. I think it is very sad that Let Asheville Vote, with a mission as simple as its name, has had its integrity questioned by the very people that it is fighting for.
In collecting signatures, mostly from Democrats in my case, I have had the opportunity to lend an ear for people to voice their anger, frustration, concern and disappointment about the four Council members who voted for partisan elections, regardless of the concerns that had been presented and the fact that they had the option of putting this issue up for a referendum themselves. Almost all of these were people who had been supporters of all four, and I could tell by the way they spoke that they felt extremely betrayed by the Council members they believed would make the most positive changes and would be role models for the Democratic Party.
So, for those of you who are unsure about our agenda, all I can say is—it’s in our name: Let Asheville Vote. Our goal is to simply give every voter in Asheville a choice on this issue. For more information or to get involved, please visit www.letashevillevote.org . If you support our goal and feel that you should have a voice on this issue, please sign the petition at one of the many locations listed on our Web site.
— Christy Fryar
Let Asheville Vote Organizer