Why the Black Vote Counts

Kansas City Star writer Lewis W. Duiguid writes that government officials are interfering with our right to vote in some states because our voices are important and influential.

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During this election year, blacks have seen quite a few voting-rights attacks, but Kansas City Star writer Lewis W. Duiguid urges us not to be derailed from the polls. The votes of African Americans are a very powerful tool, and both President Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney are fighting for our favor.

It wasn't a fluke that Romney addressed the NAACP convention this month in Houston. Sure he was booed, saying he'd spike the Affordable Care Act. But Romney gained respect by speaking to the oldest and largest civil rights group, unlike George W. Bush, who declined invitations during most of his presidency, and Ross Perot, who in 1992 referred to blacks at the NAACP as "you people."

Without a doubt Republicans are tracking blacks' growing electoral strength. They know that 90 percent of blacks voted for Obama in 2008. But the Urban League report shows he will need every one of those ballots and more to win in November.

The report said that if the African-American registration rate rises 8 percentage points from 2008 to 78.3 percent and the turnout is equal to four years ago, then an additional 3 million African-Americans will cast ballots in the presidential election. The black registration rate in 2008 was almost 4 points below the white rate and 1 point below the white turnout rate.

Read Lewis W. Duiguid's entire piece at the Kansas City Star.

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