“Occupy The Vote” Initiative Educates, Motivates, and Combats Voter Suppression
NEW YORK (September 27, 2012) -- With 40 days until the Presidential election, in the face of a concerted and coordinated voter suppression effort, the National Urban League (www.nul.org) has intensified voter education, registration and motivation efforts around the country.
“The Urban League Movement is keenly aware of the overwhelming sacrifice our predecessors made to secure the right to vote,” National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said. “We will not stand by and allow voter suppression efforts to turn back the clock on our constitutional rights.”
Earlier this year, the League launched “Occupy The Vote” a two-pronged campaign to combat discriminatory new state laws that restrict voting rights, and to educate, register and motivate voters in danger of being disenfranchised.
“These new laws are a thinly-veiled attempt to drive down turnout among people of color, senior citizens and students,” Morial said, noting that new laws were introduced in 41 states since 2010, and passed in 17 states that appear to target very specific voting blocs. “While some of the laws have been struck down by the courts, millions of people could face new hurdles when they go to cast their ballots. We want to make sure everyone is properly registered and prepared.”
Urban League workers at affiliates in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Virginia have been making phone calls, knocking on doors and coordinating community events to register, educate and motivate voters. All Urban League affiliates around the country, as well as the National Urban League Young Professionals, are engaged in efforts to register and educate voters through local events and outreach.
“The Urban League Movement is exceptionally active on social media like Twitter and Facebook, with our extended network reaching millions of Americans, particularly young people,” Morial said. “We’ve adopted a special hashtag, #occupythevote, to facilitate discussion of voting rights issues.” The National Urban League’s online election center, www.occupythevote12.org, includes state-specific information on registration and voting requirements and all the latest voting rights news from around the country.
“Our goal is to reach 500,000 people through our various outreach efforts,” Morial said.
Earlier this week, the League unveiled a series of "Occupy The Vote" video, radio and print ads, featuring Angela Bassett, Rev. Al Sharpton, Lamman Rucker, Eric Benét and other celebrities. Also this week, supporters were invited to become “Freedom Fighters,” serving on the front lines of the battle for equal voting rights.
An analysis by the National Urban League Policy Institute, “The Hidden Swing Voters: Impact of African-Americans in 2012” showed that African-American voters tipped the outcome of the 2008 presidential election in several key states, and are poised to do so again in 2012. The report studies factors that contributed to the extrodinary turnout of African-Amerrican voters and whether the re-election of the first African-American president will play enough of an historic factor to mobilize this community again in 2012.
To volunteer or get involved, visit www.occupythevote12.org
CONTACT: Teresa Candori