Letter to the Editor: Hindering Candidate Meet-and-Greet Events in Burbank is Voter Suppression

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Letter to the Editor:

Burbank firmly believes in democracy. We believe that our local government should be driven by the people, and it should exercise the will of the people through our elected representatives. This means we believe in voting, and not just voting for one office in one election, but for ALL offices, both federally and locally. We want you to vote in every election. At Diversity Voter PAC, our motto is:

Everyone, Every Election, the Whole Ballot. Vote. 

This means we encourage citizens to inform themselves by personally engaging with candidates. This includes, but not limited to, attending “meet-and-greet” gatherings held by candidates. All citizens of Burbank should have the opportunity to talk directly to a candidate or elected official about issues that matter to them, regardless of political views or party affiliation. 

Washington DC disappoints voters with a lack of informative debate. Burbank is different. We are a city of smart, engaged, informed voters who can handle interacting with all candidates with grace and maturity for the purposes of preserving true democracy. Burbank voters are a diverse group of people, and we are proud of that. 

It is disgraceful and unacceptable for any group to hinder Burbank voters from attending a meet-and-greet by any candidate or elected official. Everyone has their first amendment right, and we will always defend that right. Using that right to hinder a meet-and-greet with a candidate is, in our opinion, a form of voter suppression, and it attacks diversity. Just because someone shows up to meet a candidate does not mean they will vote for them. It simply means that a person has the wisdom to gather information before deciding on their vote. Burbank voters are over 18 and can listen to both sides of an argument and decide for themselves. 

This form of indirect voter suppression has happened yet again this week when members of an instagram group called “The Burbank Bigots” bullied the owners of a new coffee shop Three Sisters Coffee to cancel a meet-and-greet event with a candidate. Several weeks ago, this happened at Petrossian Pharmacy when a group of protesters prevented citizens from entering a meet-and-greet event with a candidate. These are only two recent examples. And they all need to stop. Citizens must be able to attend meet-and-greets without fear of ridicule, bullying, or harassment in any form. In the end, who ultimately loses? The voter, and the whole Burbank community at large.

Dear citizens of Burbank, do not be intimated. Go to every meet-and-greet you can. Seize all opportunities to talk with candidates personally. Tell them how they can represent you if elected. Be respectful. Let’s build a culture that proves your vote is sacred, informed, necessary, and private. Voters can make their own individual decisions. This is who we are in Burbank.

September 19th is National Register to Vote Day. It is our hope that everyone reading this is registered to vote, and actively encourages their neighbors to get registered as well. Visit www.lavote.gov to register or check your voter status.

To learn about all candidates coming up for the March 5th primary election, we recommend you download the Acti-Vote app on your smart phone. This resource is free, simple to use, and unbiased.

Your voice matters. Vote.

April Fangio
President, Diversity Voter PAC

    1 COMMENT

    1. We recommend that anyone illegally prevented from entry into any business for any reason immediately call for Police assistance.

      Your colleagues, friends, and family can save the number as (818) 238-3000 which seems faster to me than dialing 911. Calls are typically answered immediately.

      Thank you for your efforts to get out the vote.

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