By Glynda C. Carr
More than 70 percent of eligible Black female voters turned out to cast ballots during the 2012 presidential election. This makes our voter participation rates higher than any other group and shows candidates that they must make our concerns priorities on their political agendas if they want to mount successful runs for office.
But even with our impressive show of might, Black women are still missing important opportunities to elect leaders committed to ensuring that our issues remain a central part of their work. Too many of us are sitting out of crucial midterm elections that decide who will fill important seats of power on city councils, state legislatures and Congress. During the 2008 presidential election, for example, 68 percent of eligible Black women voters went to the polls. Two years later, just 46.5 percent took part in the midterm races.
We must change this trend if we want to create a more representative political body that will fight for pay equity, healthcare access, improved educational opportunities and other issues that affect Black women on a daily basis. The forthcoming November 4th midterm provides us with the opportunity to begin addressing this issue and become more fully and consistently involved in the political process. In an effort to move us towards this goal, on October 6thHigher Heights Leadership Fund will launch #BlackWomenVote, a 30-day campaign designed to encourage Black women to turn up and turnout during this midterm.
#BlackWomenVote will give voters the tools they need to cast their ballot on or before November 4th. The toolkit will help women create their own personal voting plans, decide how they will vote and determine what, if any, ID needs to be brought to the polls in their states. #BlackWomenVote will also provide useful resources for Black women to activate their networks online and offline and to mobilize their families, neighbors, friends, sororities and churches to help get out the vote.
Whether or not we go to the polls, Black women voters will have an impact on the outcome of this year’s midterm election. We can ensure that our impact is purposeful instead of one of omission by casting ballots. I have made my pledge to be a Higher Heights voter this midterm and have developed my plan for reaching out and encouraging others to vote. I hope you will visit www.BlackWomenVote.com and join this effort. ``
Glynda C. Carr is co-founder of Higher Heights.