A voice that cannot be ignored is the one that goes to the polls and casts a ballot. For generations now, the white majority has put into place mechanisms to suppress the black vote. Some of these laws are just now being repealed—for instance, in Florida, felons have been given back the right to vote.
Georgia also has barriers in place to suppress the black vote. Many polling places in black communities were shut down prematurely or suffered from voting machines that broke down or weren’t working.
What Do The Numbers Say?
Despite these voter suppression efforts, according to Bold Blue Campaigns, a polling and campaign strategy company in Georgia, there was a significant increase in black turnout for the midterm elections.
Whites historically have shown up in the largest numbers of any group voting. Across the board, there was a higher turnout of voters for the 2018 midterm elections: 2.3 million black 18-to 29-year-olds voted; up from 1.6 million in 2014. Georgia, a significant swing state in the upcoming 2020 elections, saw a 63% increase of black voters, which just slightly outpaced the white voter increase of 56%.
Still, white voters were still the majority at the polls. Just think about it for a moment. If black voters cast ballots at the same percentage as white voters in 2020, what kind of power could the black vote wield?
Georgia, Florida, and Texas are Battleground States in 2020
2020 is going to be a crucial year for voting. The strength of the black community comes from the number of registered voters that utilize the power to vote. This was evident in places such as Georgia where some were so afraid of the black community coming out to vote, that they brazenly closed polling locations and made it as difficult to vote as possible.
States including Georgia, Florida, and Texas can turn blue, but this requires not just registering to vote but actually showing up and casting a ballot. Change doesn’t happen unless votes are cast, and power is never surrendered without a struggle.
2020 is not that far off, it is vital that community leaders unite and create not only opportunities to register more voters, but to assist in getting everyone that wants to vote to the polls to cast that all important vote. Staying ahead of the game is the only way to gain on the political playing field.
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The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.