EVERY VOTE MATTERS: United Women of Color offers to match funds for Madison County Commission to give more access to county’s voter list for Black and brown communities


Madison County Commissioners, presided by Chairman Dale Strong, all voted, except for Madison County District 6 Commissioner, Violet Edwards, to deny Speakin’ Out News in printing the county’s voter’s list. Seating left – right are comissioners Tom Brandon, Craig Hill, and Phil Riddick (Greg Miley, SON photographer)

A local grassroots organization is upping the ante and offering to fill the funding gap to help ensure more Madison County residents have access to the county’s voter list after the Madi- son County Commission said that publishing the list in both The Huntsville Times and the Speakin’ Out News was too expensive.

“We are offering the commissioners of Madison County a 50% match contribution toward the publishing of the voters list in Speakin’ Out News, the oldest black owned publication in North Alabama,” said United Women of Color’s Angela Curry. “When the government won’t act in the best interest of its constituents, nonprofits often have to stand in the gap. At the March 30th meeting, Madison County Commissioners says that $7,000 is too much money to pay to publish the voters list in the area’s oldest Black owned newspaper publication.”

Curry said Speakin’ Out News reaches 26,000 residents and The Huntsville Times has a circulation of about 57,000. Madison County’s voting population is 300,000.

“Publishing in the Speakin’ Out News would increase the reach of the this public information,” she said. “Additionally, the Speakin’ Out News publication is free to the public and easily accessible to members of our community who are elderly and have less access to the internet as they are distributed in local churches, barber shops, and places people regularly visit. We believe this unwillingness to publish in both newspapers in a county where the largest city in Alabama is located, fosters a lack of public access to voter information.”

During the county commission meeting, District 6 commissioner Violet Edwards said that Speakin’ Out News was available all across north Huntsville for free in areas such as recreation centers and churches. Edwards acknowledged that people have internet, but said that many voters wish to double-check their names on the voter list.

Curry said having the voter list published in Speakin’ Out News would help Black and brown communities in Madison County. Alabama law requires that the probate judge in each county publish an alphabetical listing of qualified electors by county, precinct, district or subdivision where the voters are registered to vote in some newspaper with general circulation in the county.

United Women of Color is making the voter list a priority due to many instances of voter disenfranchisement and voter suppression.

” In s time where redistricting has just taken place and voter disenfranchisement and voter suppression is at an all time high, access to voter information needs to be expanded, not limited. We believe providing these funds to the county commission is a necessary public service that will provide residents with public access to important information we all have a right to,” she said.

Curry said the hope is that the Madison County Commission will accept their offer on April 13 and they will present the check for the matching funds at the Madison County Commission meeting.