The NAACP, the largest US civil rights organization, is launching a drive ahead of November’s presidential election to boost African-American voter turnout in six key states, it said on August 12. The initiative aims to enlist the services of about 200,000 “high-propensity” African-American voters, or people who turned out to vote in a high number of recent local, state and presidential elections. Those voters, in turn, will seek to mobilize so-called “low-frequency” African-American voters, people who were registered to vote, but who had not voted in the most recent election cycle or several election cycles, in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all competitive states in the 2020 Presidential election that recently saw Joe Biden leading in the polls. The goal is to increase African-American turnout by more than 5% compared to 2016. That year, African-American voter turnout declined to its lowest level since 1996, according to the Pew Research Center. “We’ve seen the outcome of when we have a drop in voter activity in the Black community,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “We have racism germinating from the White House,” he said, stressing the urgency of getting African American voters to the polls.
The voter turnout initiative comes during a national reckoning on race after a summer of nationwide protests sparked by the killing of African-American George Floyd by a police officer. A majority of Americans said they were sympathetic with the protests, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in June. Earlier on August 11, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden selected Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the 2020 election, the first African-American woman to appear on the presidential ticket for a major party. Joe Biden will face off against President Donald Trump, who has often publicly stated that he has done more for African-American than previous presidents. Polling has found his approval rating among African-Americans remains low due to his racist rhetoric, support from white supremacist organizations such as the KKK and white supremacist politicians such as David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Richard Spencer, and the disproportionate negative impact that his policies, as well as the Coronavirus pandemic, has had on the African-American community. Due to this situation, it is likely that Joe Biden will receive the highest majority of the African-American vote since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.