Goal is Mobilize More Than One Million Black Voters Against Voter Suppression, Misinformation in the 2020 Election
**Interviews are Available; for more info, visit: DefendTheBlackVote.org**
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, People For the American Way Foundation announced a major, nonpartisan “Defend the Black Vote,” campaign to mobilize Black voters and combat voter suppression and misinformation in the 2020 elections in 15 states: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The overall purpose of the campaign is to raise the alarm about the sustained attacks from the right wing that are intended to disenfranchise and suppress Black voters. and to engage more than one million voters by Election Day with information about how they can help counter these efforts.
There are six, scheduled regional tele town halls, led by young elected officials, planned for WI, GA, SC, MI, MS, and NC, through the end of October. A massive text messaging effort that will focus on Black male voters between 18-35, as well a #WeAreJohnLewis social media campaign featuring key digital influencers. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch will also play a key role in the “Defend the Black Vote” campaign by regularly updating the campaign organizers about sustained voter suppression efforts by right-wing extremists aimed at Black communities. Other components of the campaign will include six-figure digital and radio advertising.
“Defend the Black Vote” target states include those where Black voters are persistently given misinformation about changes to voter ID laws, mail-in voting, early voting, and Election Day voting, especially telling with less than four weeks before the election and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the campaign has already sent more than 1,000,000 texts — including texts to 900,000 eligible voters– in MI, GA, TX, NC, WI, MD, VA, (PA, FL texting begins today). Potential voters are urged to vote and are given information about how to check their registration and how and where to cast their ballots.
“The right to vote is one of the most fundamental and powerful rights we have as a nation,” said People for the American Way President Ben Jealous. “This is probably the most important election of our lifetime and any attempt to silence Black voters is a threat to Black communities and all Americans. For generations Black Americans have experienced some of the most intense and targeted efforts to systematically intimidate and prevent people from casting their ballots. Our Defend the Black Vote campaign is a massive effort to help put an end to voter suppression and increase voter turnout in 2020.
“The Black vote in America is under sustained attack,” said Diallo Brooks, People for the American Way’s Senior Director of Field Mobilization. “Whether we are talking about racist voter ID laws, polling location closures in majority Black cities and districts, or voter intimidation brought forth by hateful rhetoric from political leaders, Black Americans have to deal with numerous barriers just to make our voices heard. Our goal with this initiative is to educate, impassion, and activate Black voters across the country.”
In 2018, the Department of Justice, indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for targeting Black voters via social media in an effort to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The Black eligible voter population has remained constant at about 12 percent since 2000, or approximately 30 million voters. Research shows that one-in-10 eligible voters will be members of Generation Z, those between the ages 18 and 23.
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About People For the American Way Foundation
People For the American Way Foundation is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org.