The Waxhaw Branch of the Union County Public Library System (UCPL) has hung banners in preparation for Black History Month, and now members of the community are pushing back, saying at least one of the banners does not present history at all. The poster reads “Voter Suppression: Gerrymandering, Voter ID, Voter Roll Purges, Limited Early Voting & Poll Locations, Restricted Voting Rights for Ex-Offenders.”
David Williams, a Republican candidate for Union County Commissioner, has written a letter to the director of the UCPL requesting the poster’s removal. David Williams posted an excerpt from his letter to the Library Director on social media, drawing immediate reaction. In the letter, Williams stated that “educating Americans on the triumphs and successes of black Americans is the chief reason we have this month set aside in this special way.” Williams follows up to say, “This poster does none of that. Instead, it is partisan polemic pure and simple. It should be removed. It takes a side in a debate that belongs in the arena of politics and public policy, not in a taxpayer-supported library.”
The issue of Voter ID has been a controversial one in North Carolina, coming to the fore again last month when a judicial decision stayed a voter ID law passed by the General Assembly in accordance with a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2018. The issue then took center stage in this year’s Attorney General’s race, with Republicans calling on Attorney General Josh Stein (D) to challenge the ruling. Stein filed, then later withdrew, an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Other local members of the Republican Party have spoken out on Facebook about the poster as well.
Union County GOP Chair Allison Powers commented, “It is hugely partisan. Should not be in a taxpayer-funded facility,” and Union County Board of Education member Travis Kiker posted that the banner should be taken down immediately.
County Commissioner Frank Aikmus said he has reached out to county staff and “asked them to address this,” according to a post he made on social media.
All five seats on the Union County Board of Commissioners are held by Republicans.