‘We're Suppressing Ourselves': Betrayal and Despair Need Not Keep Voter Turnout Low in Southern Dallas

Richard Lee Fields, a 63-year-old native of Pittsburg, Texas, moved here when he was a young boy, to a housing project in what used to be called North Dallas until the city's sprawl stretched toward toward Collin County. He makes his living framing doors and windows. But when I met him Monday morning, in the parking lot at the Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library, he was working the polls, trying to get folks to vote for Albert Black for mayor.Fields said he was doing it for the money. But also because "I believe in him," he said, pointing to the thick stack of Black postcards in his lap. Fields hadn't given out many.It was the same story for all the other campaign workers ambling about in the parking lot — a handful of literature, no one around who was interested in taking it. I spent two hours at the polling site Monday, the penultimate day of early voting, and saw maybe 10 voters the whole time — most in their 60s, 70s. The county said that through Monday, about 1,700 people had voted in this part of town, Dwaine Caraway's old district, since polls opened April 22."Despair is a hell of a disease," Fields said as we discussed the low turnout. "It's prevailing here. It doesn't have to be. It shouldn't be. It's just here. And it's in the way."  Continue reading...

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