Racial justice groups detail challenges facing minority voters

Now more than ever, we must protect the right to vote. Communities of color face mounting suppression efforts

[2020 Elections\Voter Suppression]
Judith Browne Dianis: “It is abundantly clear that just days before the election that voter suppression efforts are disproportionately targeting Black and Brown voters, making it more difficult for them to cast a ballot.”
Photo: Twitter

Thursday, a coalition of national and statewide organizations decried significant barrier to the ballot still facing Black and Brown voters as voter registration deadlines loom ahead of the fall 2020 election.

Organizations including Advancement Project National Office, New Virginia Majority, New Georgia Project and New Florida Majority identified significant barriers, including voter suppression efforts, threatening to disenfranchise voters attempting to cast a ballot in the fall elections.

“It is abundantly clear that just days before the election that voter suppression efforts are disproportionately targeting Black and Brown voters, making it more difficult for them to cast a ballot,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “How else can we characterize the flagrant efforts of lawmakers and election officials to silence the voice of Returning Citizens, close polling locations in Black neighborhoods, and intentionally underinvest in safe voting options like vote-by-mail? We must call it what it is: voter suppression. The compounding challenges of COVID-19 must be met with intense voter education, advocacy from grassroots organizations, and dogged determination of voters to cast a ballot by any means necessary. Advancement Project is committed to work with our partners to ensure the voice of these voters is heard at the ballot box.”

The commitment comes on the heels of the May launch of the organization’s Democratizing Voter Protection initiative, a year-round initiative focused on training community leaders to successfully advocate for expanded access to the ballot box with election officials. The program has worked throughout the 2020 election cycle to train leaders to protect voters in primary and general elections across the country.

“Everyone in our community should be able to vote and be confident that their vote counts. This year, Virginia is leading the way on expanding voting rights by bringing sweeping change to provide voters with multiple options to cast their ballot safely and securely—whether early in-person, at home or returning ballots through the mail or at a drop box location, and on Election Day,” said New Virginia Majority Co-Executive Director Tram Nguyen. “But some politicians are undermining our democracy by casting doubt on the integrity of our elections and taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to scare people into not voting. We must break through the chaos, disinformation and voter intimidation tactics. As we have done over the last decade, we will fiercely defend every voter’s right to cast their ballot.”

Early voting in Fairfax County, Virginia was marred by disruption at the hands of Trump campaign “poll monitors.” New Virginia Majority’s GOTV work has included voter education efforts around recent changes in the state’s voting laws, including those around vote-by-mail.

“More than ever, we must do everything in our power to make sure that every vote is counted,” said Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project. “New Georgia Project works with communities across the state to combat everything from confusion around drop box locations to the state’s refusal to extend the absentee ballot receipt deadline. The fact that occurrences like these still happen lets us know that the work we do is a vital part of the larger fight to defend Georgians’ right to safe, free and fair elections.”

The New Georgia Project’s voter registration and civic engagement work continues as a federal judge on Monday extended the absentee ballots deadline, ruling that ballots must be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and delivered up to three days later.

“Now more than ever, we must protect the right to vote. Communities of color face mounting suppression efforts, and we will not rest until right-wing groups are exposed and held accountable for their unprecedented efforts to suppress the vote. Voting as a fundamental right is under attack from an array of bad actors in 2020, and it will take all of us to win in November,” said New Florida Majority Executive Director Andrea Mercado. “We’ve joined the Florida for All Coalition, a part of the Win Justice national campaign, to beat back voter suppression efforts, purge efforts, and other tactics used to disenfranchise voters, and ensure that Floridians have the tools and information needed to vote safely and fairly in the upcoming election.”

The New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable.

The New Florida Majority (NewFM) is an independent political organization working to increase the voting and political power of historically marginalized and excluded constituencies toward an inclusive, equitable, and just Florida.

The New Georgia Project is a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engaged Georgians. To date, the NGP has registered nearly 400,000 people from underrepresented communities to vote in Georgia. In addition to registering voters, NGP also advocates for civil and human rights causes and works to advance justice on behalf of historically marginalized communities. www.newgeorgiaproject.org.

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org

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