ABOUT THE BLACK MALE VOTER PROJECT
Since the foundation of the United States, black men and women have faced barrier after barrier to achieving voting equality.
These barriers continue today in the form of Voter ID laws and racial gerrymandering. Black women have the highest rate of electoral participation in the United States. Our goal is to elevate black men to the same level of participation. We believe that lasting change in this country is only possible through avenues like these. A movement like this can not only change the political makeup of the United States but build lasting connections in communities across the nation.
We plan on focusing our efforts in states like Mississippi, where African-Americans make up nearly 38% of the electorate. In 2018, only 59.8% of registered black voters voted in the midterm elections, despite 77.9% of the population being registered to vote. This demonstrates that there is room to not only register new voters, but to drastically improve voter turnout.
For too long, the electoral narrative of the Democratic party has focused on the so-called “swing voter.” This has neglected the bedrock of the party’s voter base, black Americans. At the national level and the state level, the focus has shifted away from mobilizing this base and instead has shifted toward mass voter registration projects. While these projects are no doubt important, without meaningful investment in mobilizing black voters, Democratic hopes for long-term political sustainability are severely handicapped.
In the 2018 midterms, 55 percent of black women exercised their right to vote. Eight percentage points higher than black men, who saw a voter rate of 47%. While we must continue engaging, mobilizing, and investing in black women voters, the Democratic Party can see the most drastic increase in votes by turning out the black male vote.
The history of the United States is a story about disenfranchisement of millions based off of the color of their skin. Decades of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and rigorous poll taxes and literacy tests have created a climate that is nothing shy of hostile towards black men that choose to stand up, challenge, or participate in civic life. So if we know how to depress black men’s participation, then the logical response or cure for this would be to support a campaign that reverses these ideas. The issue of low black male voter turnout can be addressed by creating a campaign that is dedicated to reversing these neo-colonial ideas.