We are only a few hours away from the most consequential election in our country’s history – particularly for Black Americans. The challenges confronting the Black community are well documented: police killings, an inadequate response to COVID-19, mass unemployment, systemic racism and voter suppression.
Early data shows Black people are turning out in record numbers because of what’s at stake this election cycle. The current Administration has failed to address the pandemic or any of the other issues impacting their loved ones in any meaningful way. Black voters are looking to leaders in Washington to prioritize immediate and long term economic relief, access to quality and affordable health care, and an end to systemic racism and inequality. Over the next day, we will see what happens when millions of Black people of all ages and backgrounds come together to vote for leaders who prioritize our community and issues.
NAACP’s Turnout Efforts To-Date:
As the nation’s largest and most highly recognized civil rights organization, the NAACP has been organizing, educating and mobilizing the Black community since its founding. With so much at stake for the Black community in this election, we doubled our efforts on this critical work. Earlier this year we launched the “Black Voices Change Lives” (BVCL) campaign, an unprecedented effort to mobilize and turn out Black voters in key states and increase Black voter turnout by at least five percent compared to the 2016 election. Our original tagline, “Vote! Our lives depend on it!” captured the imperative of voting and served as a clarion call to our community.
According to the Pew Research Center, Black voter turnout declined for the first time in 20 years, falling to 59.6 percent in 2016, after reaching a historic high of 66.6 percent in the 2012 elections. To reverse this trend, the NAACP has spent more than $15 million to deploy a blend of traditional and innovative turnout tactics in the following 10 battleground states: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Alabama. The NAACP turnout strategy is anchored in an innovation pioneered by the data science firm GSSA, called indirect relational voter turnout (IRVT), where high-propensity Black voters are recruited as volunteers to encourage low-propensity Black voters to vote.
The BVCL campaign was split into two phases. Phase 1, which ran from August through September, focused on recruiting high-propensity Black voters to volunteer. By the end of September, the NAACP had recruited nearly 200,000 volunteers, an extraordinary achievement in such a short period of time.
Phase 2, which began in late September, focused on using the enlisted volunteers to mobilize infrequent voters in the aforementioned battleground states, where the data tells us the Black vote is the determining factor in the outcome of the election no matter who is running for office. Our volunteers have made 675,000 calls, sent 16.5 million text messages, safely distributed over 400,000 pieces of voter education literature, sent 4.5 million pieces of social pressure GOTV mail, and sent 400,000 direct voter contact emails to encourage Black voters in their community to vote.
To complement our volunteers’ work, the NAACP launched a robust, seven-figure radio and digital advertising blitz targeting Black voters in 29 markets across the 10 states. The ad buy includes a significant investment in 17 Black-owned radio stations in these markets. These ads were aired during the premiere of ABC’s “Black-ish” in six markets, as well as on BET during their two-hour HBCU virtual homecoming event. The ads have generated over 18 million impressions across digital platforms.
Our traditional allies, including the faith community, Divine Nine, Black Social Organizations and more, partnered with us to motivate their members and others to vote. We would also like to extend a special note of thanks to leaders and celebrities, including Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey and many others who joined us in this critical venture.
As November 3rd is only a few hours away, we are working tirelessly to ensure that voters are able to safely exercise their rights to vote at their polling location. We have over 2,000 lawyers, law students and paralegals staffing our election protection hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Black People’s Power in This Election
The NAACP has spent the past 100 years mobilizing Black people across the country to educate them on the issues and get out to vote. But this movement started long before: throughout the history of the United States, Black people have always led the charge to make this country live up to its ideals of fairness and equality. And, they will continue to do so in this election and beyond.