The NAACP, the nation’s largest and most highly recognized civil rights organization, launched the next phase of its “Black Voices Change Lives” campaign to turn out Black voters who are normally left out in key states and increase Black voter turnout by at least five percent compared to the 2016 election. With 32 days to Election Day, Phase two of the campaign is focused on voter mobilization, with early voting already underway in states across the country.
The seven-figure digital and radio ads are targeted at Black voters across 29 markets, and in ten states including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Alabama. The ad buy includes a significant investment in 17 Black-owned radio stations. This coupled with teams of thousands of volunteers making phone calls, sending text messages, sharing the “Real News” and distributing information through no-contact canvassing is designed to reach millions of Black Voters who are feeling the burden of structural racism and ineffective management of Covid-19.
“We must continue to fight voter intimidation and suppression targeted at Black voters across the nation,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “This is the most consequential election of our lifetime and it will have an impact on generations to come, which is why we must ensure that every voice is heard. From the disastrous mishandling of COVID-19 that has devastated black communities to the rise of violent white supremacists, politicians in Washington have failed us and need to be replaced with leaders who care about Black people. The stakes have never been higher and we are leaving nothing on the table. We need the Black community to understand the impact of their vote, know where to vote, and be prepared to help their friends and neighbors overcome any obstacles or attempts to deter them from voting. We must vote like our lives depend on it.”
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 Black voter turnout declined for the first time in 20 years, falling to 59.6 percent after reaching a historic high of 66.6 percent in the 2012 elections. The NAACP’s “Black Voices Change Lives” campaign provides tools, training, and resources to the volunteers who will call and text the voters they are assigned and encourage them to cast their ballot. This relational organizing innovation was first tested with the Colorado based analytics firm GSSA under the leadership of Dr. Albert Yates in 2019.
The first phase, which launched in August, focused on recruiting high-propensity Black voters to volunteer by SMS, phone calls, direct mail, and e-mail. By the end of Phase 1 in September, the NAACP had recruited nearly 200,000 volunteers, an extraordinary achievement in such a short period of time.