In light of the recent onslaught of right-wing voter suppression laws cropping up across the country, a new report released by the National Urban League entitled "The Hidden Swing Voters: Impact of African Americans in 2012," analyzing the impact of the African American vote in both the 2004 and 2008 elections, brings much-appreciated hope and motivation.
As we mentioned in the first blog post of this series, voting and other forms of political action have deep roots in the Black community. The League's report shows that the Black vote remains crucial in deciding who will be the next president of the United States. The report emphasizes the impact that this demographic shift played in electing the first African-American President. National Urban League Executive Director Marc Morial called the report a "clarion call to reawaken the hidden swing voters in the state of Black America...once is not enough."
The 2008 presidential election marked record-high rates of Black voter participation. The strong performance of the Black electorate is what turned swing states like North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia over to President Obama. Based on this report, it is undeniable that Black participation in past election years has been pivotal in deciding presidential elections and will continue to play a very powerful role in the future.
And although right-wing attacks on voting rights are disturbing and unjust, it's also clear that the attacks have increased because the power is in our hands. The rise of voter suppression across the country, concentrated mainly in the South, can be seen as a direct result of changing racial demographics.
The numbers in the League's report are certainly promising, but they're not cause for complacency. In fact, voting rates need to remain the same and ideally increase for President Obama to have a serious chance in swing states this year. We have a lot of power as Black American voters and the question remains-- how do we make sure we use it and exercise our rights? One answer: register! Once registered, African Americans have the hightest voting rate among all other segments of the population.
September 25th is National Voter Registration Day, kicking off National Voter Registration Week-- a time when organizations and volunteers coordinate to increase awareness of voter registration deadlines and register voters for the November elections. Now is the time time for us to concentrate our energy and match the rising tide of voter suppression efforts with a strong wave of registered and determined voters.
Register to vote and get all the information you need to prepare to vote here at vote.colorofchange.org!