Educate, Organize, Mobilize – Going forward I will chronicle voter mobilization efforts required to defeat voter suppression in November 2016. Much of my content will not be new but will be presented in the context of a specific plan and the ingredients needed for success.
For effective voter participation everyone in North Carolina that desires to vote in November 2016 should have free and unfettered access to the ballot. However, because of massive voter suppression tactics in North Carolina many would be voters are going to need a lot of assistance to reach the ballot box. With that knowledge in mind, many individuals and organizations are actively involved in promoting voter rights protection and ballot access. Many understand that the only way to defeat massive voter suppression is with a massive mobilization. For that, every individual and organization that desires to promote voter access needs to know how they can get involved.
A pivotal step toward voter mobilization was taken last week when North Carolina’s premier Black Leadership organization, the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus (Caucus), stepped into the breach and declared that a “massive voter turnout” for November 2016 was mandatory for the well-being of Black and progressive communities.
As I reported last week, I was the presenter to the Caucus as they considered the need for a massive voter mobilization and Caucus Chair, Garland Pierce guided a lively discussion around the many issues inherent in producing the voter turnout that we felt was necessary to protect our monumental political gains over the last 50 years. During the discussion, Advance North Carolina (ANC) was identified as an entity that has been organizing for community and voter engagement and it was the sense of the Caucus to ask them to meet and discuss working together and possibly merging efforts.
AdvanceNC is a Black-led statewide 501c4 organization committed to expanding Black political and economic power in NC. One of its objectives is to work in rural, urban and suburban communities. If they embrace the challenge of a massive voter mobilization their objective will be put to the test. However, before organizers can go much further, there has to be a coming together to sort out strengths, weaknesses, needs, priorities and role players needed for a successful mobilization effort.
The first and most important assessments are a determination of the capacity of ANC and the funding needs of a massive mobilization. If ANC can respond to the needed organizational capacity, those with a vested interest in Black voter participation will need to make sure funding needs of our efforts can be met. Obviously our Black elected officials and communities have a vested interest in Black voter participation. However, it is important to engage statewide candidates for 2016 that will fail or succeed depending on our turnout. Democrats and progressives are the most likely beneficiaries of our desired turnout.
The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in January 2010 tossed out the corporate and union ban on making independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications. It gave corporations and unions the green light to spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates. In essence, the high court’s 5-4 decision said that it is OK for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate. The Citizens United ruling created the legal framework for super PACs and the ability of billionaires to spend unlimited sums of money to influence the outcome of elections.
For an effective mobilization campaign in North Carolina substantial funding by super PACs are the only realistic resources capable of responding to our substantial financial needs. To the extent that they are able, individual candidates should contribute financially and all should encourage interested super PACs to step up to the plate in a big way.
As always, we need as much input as possible if we’re going to be responsive to the needs and expectations of our communities. Now that we have a plan, we need you to help make it succeed. Please follow the evolution of our mobilization efforts going forward and join in as individuals and organizations.
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