Voter ID laws, legislative redistricting, misinformation and other tactics have led to what advocates say is black voter disenfranchisement. And, as the campaign season reaches its boiling point – and Nov. 6 swiftly approaches, three advocacy organizations are partnering to ensure that blacks and other minorities have a voice at the polls this Election Day.
Organizations Color for Change, the American Values Institute, or AVI, and the Advancement Project have joined forces to fight against, what Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson calls, “a legislative effort to turn back the clock [on voting rights].” Through mobilization, academic inquiry into race and race anxiety, as well as increased access to voting resources, the three organizations seek to make the polls both accessible and fair for minority voters in a new effort announced Tuesday, July 24.
While voter ID may have come to illustrate voter discrimination, Robinson, as well as AVI’s Alexis Johnson and the Advancement Projects’ Eddie Hailes, highlighted more elusive, yet equally suppressive tactics used to disenfranchise minority voters during a conference call to announce the new initiative.
For instance, some states, including Georgia, have requested to use a U.S. Department of Homeland Security database to cross-check a registered voter’s citizenship status, according to Hailes, general counsel for the Advancement Project. Misleading mass e-mails and robocalls have also spread misinformation to minority voters.
“We are witnessing a very big attack on voting rights,” Hailes said, “an unprecedented attack.”
Interestingly, the organizations’ effort will also highlight how subconscious perceptions on race and racial anxiety may work to block blacks and other minorities from the polls.
A consortium of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and other schools will work with the AVI to examine the language and imagery of the campaign cycle, and to find ways to create more egalitarian and inviting messages to persuade minorities to go to the pools.
Voters will also be able to log onto Color of Change’s website to access important voting resources, including registration information, information on how to cooperate with current voter ID laws, advocacy resources, and more.