The sense of urgency over the Black vote in the upcoming mid-term elections is mounting. Black congressional leaders are feverishly urging black voters to turn out strong on November 4th, saying that Democrats could lose multiple elections across the country and Republicans could take control of the U.S. Senate, if African Americans don’t pack the polls. Two weeks before the mid-term elections, there’s a lot at stake: Republicans already control the House and there is a strong chance that the GOP could also take over the Senate.
That means for the next two years Republicans can block President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda, stalling social programs and health care reforms designed to uplift African-Americans and people of color. African-Americans could help swing critical elections in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas where Democratic candidates are vulnerable — but only if they turn out in large numbers. “Anybody who looks at the data realizes that if the black vote, and the brown vote, doesn’t turn out, we can’t win. It’s just that simple,” Rep. Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told The New York Times. “If we don’t turn out, we cannot hold the Senate.”
President Obama cast his ballot Monday in Chicago where he worked to rally Democrats to turn out for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and other Democrats in the midterm elections. “I love voting. Everybody in Illinois: early vote,” he said at his neighborhood polling place. “This is the most important office in a democracy, the office of citizen,” Obama said. Later, at Chicago State University, a predominantly Black college on the South Side of Chicago, Obama said: “Republicans have been trying to make it harder for folks to vote, but the truth of the matter is, so often we disempower ourselves.”
Obama may be right. To underscore the sense of urgency, Cornell Belcher, a Black Democratic pollster, sent a confidential memo to Democratic leaders in which he predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country,” if Black voters don’t turn out in record numbers, according to The New York Times. And, most troubling, Belcher wrote, many African-Americans are not engaged in the political process. Belcher and Black Democratic leaders are worried that because President Obama is not on the ballot and it’s a non-presidential election year, there is no sense of urgency among Black voters. Democrats are concerned that the euphoria from Obama’s historic election in 2008 – where a record number of Black voters turned out – will never be repeated.
It’s a valid concern. Only 43 percent of black voters went to polls in 2010, far short of the 66 percent that voted in 2012 when Obama was running for re-election. “African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Belcher wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1.“In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”
Fudge and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are urging black folks to vote early. Most states have a method for any eligible voter to cast a ballot before Election Day, either during the early voting period or by requesting an absentee ballot. In 14 states, early voting is not available and an excuse is required to request an absentee ballot.
States offer three ways for voters to cast a ballot before Election Day:
Turn Out For What? Black Voters Must Hit The Polls In November Or Risk GOP Takeover was originally published on blackamericaweb.com