How to Turn a Person Into a Voter

In States, Voting On

This month, we got on a bus with some colleagues and made our way to a senior center in Louisville, Ga., a quaint town about 50 miles from Augusta. The trip was part of a bus tour across the South to talk to black people about building political power.

When we arrived, we led the group in a discussion, then sang freedom songs and James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud!” They even had a dance-off.

It was a moment of fun, but moments like that are also a key part of our strategy for getting people to vote.

All year, our group, Black Voters Matter Fund, crisscrosses the South, focusing on progressive pockets in red states to find people who have been ignored.

We’ve learned how to turn citizens into committed voters. Despite declining black turnout nationwide, including in 2016, the lowest presidential turnout rate for blacks since 2000, we’ve seen enormous success in local and statewide races.

And although our approach is tailored to black people in the South, our model is one that any party or politician or group looking to increase turnout — or to mobilize the six in 10 eligible voters who stay at home for the midterms — should use.

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Common Ground
We don’t need to search any further for common ground in our country. We have it.
We all want the same things – a safe, prosperous, free, democratic nation with opportunity for all. At the same time, we will all be harmed if our democracy, our free press, our Constitution and our core American values are threatened. We will all certainly be harmed if reckless behavior triggers any number of potential armed conflicts.

None of us know how this will all play out so let's make a deal. Let’s get up to speed on the issues, establish some facts, take action and watch what happens together . . .