News / USA

Democrats Say African American Voters Key to November Election

Volunteers get organized as they work to get out the vote in Balitmore, MD, Oct 2010
Volunteers get organized as they work to get out the vote in Balitmore, MD, Oct 2010


Recent public opinion polls of likely U.S. voters suggest the Republican Party will replace the Democratic Party as the majority party in both houses of Congress following the mid-term election on 2 Nov. Republicans also expect major gains in state and local elections.

In an attempt to avoid defeat, Democratic Party candidates are trying to rally their supporters, including a loyal base of African American voters. Volunteers are on a mission to get African American voters to the polls in Baltimore, Maryland. They are canvassing this neighborhood and others across the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland during the early voting period ahead of the actual election day.

Keith Haynes is running for his third term as a Maryland state lawmaker. Besides campaigning, he wants people to get excited about the election. "We are actually encouraging people to get out and vote now. So if he's in town he can take advantage of early voting today."

Haynes also said, "During the primary election a few weeks ago, we had one of the lowest voter turnouts that we have had in the state of Maryland and we are trying to boost those number up for the general election."

Organizers says these 'get out the vote' drives are important because studies indicate that turnout among black voters for midterm elections is often a third lower than in presidential election years. Melanie Campbell is president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and she said, "I think it takes all of us getting involved and it takes the voter. It takes the community to realize this is a very important election and staying at home is not a good option."  

As head of the party, President Barack Obama is trying to help Democrats win on election day and prevent opposition Republicans from capturing enough seats to take control of Congress. "Don't ever let anybody tell you this fight isn't worth it."

David Bositis is an analyst with The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington. He said high black voter turnout in key races, especially in southern states, could make it difficult for Republicans to win a majority of seats needed to regain control of Congress.

"If black voters turn out, the Democrats' prospects are going to be a lot better than if African Americans do not turn out," said Bositis. "When there's little or no gap between black or white turnout, it usually bodes well for the Democratic Party. When there is a large gap between black and white turnout, it usually bodes well for the Republican Party."

In order to counter Republican challenges, the Democrats are spending more than $2 million on mobilizing black voters across the country. Keith Haynes says he is targeting those who have not voted in several years.  "We want to try to get those individuals who are registered and have a history of voting, but who may have not voted in the last few elections, to energize them to get that energy behind them to go out and cast their vote. But we are emphasizing that their vote does count."

The Census Bureau says black voter turnout in 2008 was slightly larger than white turnout for the first time ever. Fearing a sharp drop off this year, these volunteers say they will keep up their efforts to get blacks to the polls.  

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs