Could African-American Women Voters Win the Election for Obama?

In the 2008 election, voter turnout among African-American women surged and helped in part to elect President Obama. In response, Republicans have pushed restrictive voter ID bills designed to throw hurdles up between minority voter turnout and actual votes cast.

Not surprisingly, a lot of black women are not having it.

The Washington Post reports
that the wave of new voter restrictions designed to tip the scales in the GOP’s favor has inspired African-American women to go out and register voters in order to make sure they are not disenfranchised in November. Featuring a group of women in Ohio, the piece details how African-American women are finding their voice and their power in this new political economy.

Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project, said black women showed in 2008 they can turn out in record numbers. But in 2010, “we sat home and while we were sitting at home, there were others that were plotting and what they decided to do was to change the rules of the game.”

The women invoke the name of abolitionist and women’s suffragist Sojourner Truth, and repeat civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s famous line — “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” — as a rallying cry. They talk strategy about checking to see who’s been purged from voter rolls or locating documents that voters need to get photo identification. All along, they remind voters of the time, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law, when black people were kept from voting.

Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said a voter hotline set up by several groups already gets a thousand calls a day. Callers are typically people who don’t know if they can vote, whether their felony conviction keeps them from voting or what ID is required in their state, if at all.

Her organization has created a computer app that allows people to verify their registration status, get help registering online, learn about voting requirements in their state, find polling places and receive other assistance.

It is this coordinated effort with an understanding of the personal civil rights struggle and victory that voting represents among African-Americans that can truly push back against the tide of cynicism and lust for power driving the voter ID rush. It is offensive, at its core, to target populations that have been historically and systematically oppressed for nothing more than the color of their skin. With some hard work and a little luck all that cynicism from the right will be for nothing.

 

Related Stories:

Think Voter ID Is Bad? Meet the Poll Watchers

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Throws Voters A Bone

Over 750,000 Pennsylvanians Could Be Disenfranchised By Voter ID Law

 

Photo from mikebaird via flickr.

109 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Michael G.
Michael G.4 years ago

Anyone with any sense, intelligence and basic decency will vote for Obama in the November election!

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Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine4 years ago

TOGETHER WE CAN!

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Berny p.
Berny p4 years ago

there is no doubts about it!

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Cassandra Fountain

I tell you what win or lose we are going to be out in full force and affect for Obama in November. We realize he is the only one who has got our back. A lot of black women are single mothers trying to raise their children and on the low end of the totem pole. We get no respect and less pay than the white men and women and the black man. Most of us "work" just like every one else but for Mutt Romney its not enough - -we're still freeloaders. Black women all over the nation are proud to see a black man being president, married, taking care of his business, working it, and raising his family. It is a downright shame that the republican party has to resort to defrauding the electoral process by hiring firms to rig the vote, making up false voter registration forms and disenfranchising black voters. They are doing this because they realize they cannot win on their own merits. They have no policies and what little policies they do have, only benefit the wealthy. Also way to many black men have fallen by the way side, selling drugs, doing drugs, burglarizing someone else's home, killing each other, alcoholics, wife beating, you name it they are doing it. Black man, sit down, go to school and earn an honest living. They need to look to Obama as a role model and strive to be more like him instead of the despicable acts they are now engaged in which they think makes them a man.

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Luis L.
Luis, L4 years ago

It is not surprizing that the most oppressed group in America are the one's leading the fight and showing us the way to fight for our rights. Just like the hotel maids and homeworkers who are leading the fight to unionize the lowest paid workers in society. African American women are usually at the bottom of the income scale of all groups. We need to learn from them and join them in their struggle. It makes us all better.

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