Originally Reported by The Philadelphia Tribune. Photo credits to: AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Supporters of Black Voters Matter gather at a polling site in Graham, N.C., on Election Day 2020. — AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Black voters, especially in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Detroit and their neighboring suburbs, were crucial in electing Joe Biden president in the 2020 election.
“Exit poll data from the 2020 election show the power of the Black vote. Black Americans represented over 50% of all Democratic voters in Georgia (33% of state population is Black), 20% of all Democratic voters in Michigan (14% of state population is Black), and 21% of all Democratic voters in Pennsylvania (12% of state population), reports Rashawn Ray, senior fellow at Brookings, a think tank.
“While some political pundits and journalists attributed Georgia going Democrat to white suburbs, Black voters were the real key,” said Ray.
So what would be the result if Black voter turnout was even larger in the upcoming midterms in November and the 2024 presidential election?
Ahead of the all-important 2022 midterm elections, reports show that more than 55 million Americans remain unregistered to vote — and about 10 million are African Americans who are eligible to vote but who are unregistered.
The reasons for the millions of unregistered voters are varied from apathy to ignorance.
These unregistered voters are tremendous untapped resources that could make the difference in which party controls Congress, the White House and statehouses across the country.
The staggering number of unregistered voters is why the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which represents 230 African-American owned newspapers in the United States, and the Transformative Justice Coalition have joined forces to increase voter registration and get-out-the-vote mobilization.
Leaders of both organizations announced the get-out-the-vote campaign on June 24 during the national convention marking the 195th anniversary celebration of the Black Press of America in New Orleans.
The goal of the campaign is to mobilize 10 million more African Americans to vote in time for the 2022 midterms.
The timing of this campaign could not be more crucial.
The campaign was announced last Friday, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to end the constitutional protection for abortion, a decision that will disproportionally impact poor Black women.
The campaign announcement also comes after Republican lawmaker efforts to restrict voting rights.
The campaign will include a multivehicle “votercade” to get out the vote. The votercade will hit swing states ahead of the November elections to register and mobilize GOTV for 10 million new Black voters. Business mogul Jay-Z and other celebrities have already agreed to accompany the motorcade.
“This is a great opportunity for us. We’ve got to make this happen,” said attorney Barbara Arnwine, founder and president of the Transformative Justice Coalition.
She said her organization had recorded 72 voter suppression tactics. Among them are strict voter laws in many Republican-led states, deceptive practices like robocalls, early voting cuts and voter intimidation.
“Black voters did our share in 2020,” Arnwine said. “Ninety-three percent of all eligible Black voters registered in Georgia. Yet, in the 2021 Georgia Senate run-off, 93% of all registered Black voters turned out. That’s why people don’t understand where the real power is.”
NNPA President and CEO Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. said getting more people registered will be crucial to victory in November.
“This last primary election showed that some of us were keeping ourselves from voting. There are 55 million unregistered Americans eligible to vote and 10 million are African Americans,” Chavis said.
“What if those 10 million were registered? We wouldn’t have worried about Donald Trump or the craziness of what the U.S. Supreme Court is doing now. Elections have consequences. The overturned Roe v. Wade, the overturned gun laws — are consequences of elections.”