Blame it on the Law of Unintended Consequences.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported this week that the coming election — a right of citizenship guaranteed in the US Constitution and the cornerstone of our democracy — will be displacing the Holly Jolly Craft Show, an annual event produced by the Cricket Craftsmen of Forsyth County, due to legally mandated early voting at the South Fork Recreation Center site.
It was not supposed to happen like this.
Early voting has been under attack since the GOP took over the state General Assembly in 2010, because — currently, anyway — the numbers of early voters seem to favor candidates on the Democrat side of the ballot. The efforts to quash it altogether resulted in a tense compromise: fewer days of early voting at more sites, and they would be forced to remain open the same number of hours.
The South Fork Recreation Center is the only early-voting facility on the city bus line besides the county building downtown, according to Camel City Dispatch, but it is also at the end of Country Club Road, in a mostly white community. Naming this site as one of just six early-voting places in the city limits seems designed to disenfranchise the black, urban vote.
But the dates — Oct. 23-Nov. 1 — pre-empt the Holly Jolly Craft Show, a holiday-themed affair featuring toys, wreaths, ornaments and other Christmas swag all made by the Cricket Craftsmen. The vendor space is all sold out, with a waiting list building. The Journal reported that the group usually takes in upwards of $20,000 on the event.
But it’s a government-owned facility. And the government considers elections a pretty big deal. As of press time, it looks like the Holly Jolly Craft Show will have to be rescheduled — though why a holiday craft show should take place on Halloween is another matter entirely.
It’s interesting, though, that this movement hatched in the GOP-controlled legislature to take power away from African-American voters and consolidate it among elderly white voters has inadvertently wiped out this event.
There’s another wrinkle, too. War on Christmas, anyone?