WASHINGTON – The November election is coming soon and African Americans and other minorities across the country must be prepared to combat one of the most controversial issues that is already having a profound effect before one ballot has been cast — voter suppression.
In an effort to battle certain Voter IDs laws and obstacles, a political group consisting of Black lawyers and emerging leaders from Washington, D.C., all under the age of 40, is raising awareness to get African Americans and people of color prepared before Nov. 6 arrives.
IMPACT is launching the #VoteReady campaign, which is designed to help answer three questions:
Am I prepared to vote? Am I registered to vote? Where do I cast my vote?
The campaign will provide individuals with answers to these critical questions. IMPACT’s goal is to prepare, engage, and educate youth and young professionals to ensure American citizens are equipped and prepared to go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6. #VoteReady will also increase voter education and engagement among those who are disproportionately affected by recently enacted voter identification laws.
“Since the beginning of 2011, 176 restrictive voting bills have been proposed in 41 states and have become law in 14 states. These statistics are alarming,” said IMPACT Director Joe Briggs. “The #VoteReady movement is designed to not only mobilize young people, but also to keep them informed.”
About 18 states have implemented new ID laws, which will require photo-IDs issued by the states of its own residents. Various political specialists say that the new format was put in place to prevent certain voters from voting in the presidential election.
Through #VoteReady, voters will be able to: identify polling locations; contact boards of election; access state by state voting deadlines; and equip targeted audiences with best practices to educate community members on vote readiness.
“More than five million voters have been affected by these laws with a large and disproportionate impact on people of color and young adults, which are two demographics that IMPACT serves,” said IMPACT Director Angela Rye. “By providing resources about voter registration opportunities on our VoteReady.org website and through our #VoteReady twitter initiative we hope to substantially decrease the potential impact of these laws.”
Founded by a group of emerging leaders in 2006, IMPACT is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to: (1) enhance knowledge of the political and legislative processes; (2) foster civic engagement, and; (3) enhance economic empowerment opportunities for other emerging leaders, ages 21 to 40.
Whether these leaders have joined corporate America, became CEOs of their own companies, work on Capitol Hill, lead non-profits, or are officials elected to lead their cities, states, or our Nation to greatness — the mission of IMPACT is to strategically link these leaders with one another to help in accomplishing their goals. To that end, our primary means of accomplishing this mission is to host a range of events catering to young professionals including forums,workshops, receptions and galas.
For additional information about IMPACT, visit www.IMPACT-dc.com or follow @teamIMPACT for #VoteReady updates.
By Antonio R. Harvey
Observer Staff Writer