Fall In!

There are many successes in life that can be credited to simply being present.  For example, if a poll were taken asking people to describe the characteristics that are associated with great parents, a frequent response would likely be that great parents are always there.  There are also many people who have received scholarships and other great benefits, not only because they were qualified, but because they applied when no one else did.  Similarly, as a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, I distinctly remember that before we started the work day, we had to Fall In to formation.  Our mission and daily tasks could not begin until we were all “present and accounted for.”

In this article, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau [1] are shared to provide information about Black voter turnout by comparing results from the last two elections.

These data reveal that from the 2012 to the 2016 election:

1) Non-Hispanic Black votes decreased from 12.9% to 11.9%, respectively; and

2) Black voter turnout decreased in every age group (i.e., 18-29, 30-44, 45-64, and 65+) [1].

There is speculation about why Black voter turnout decreased (at a statistically significant level) from the 2012 to the 2016 election [1], such as: increased motivation by some African Americans to vote in 2012 (as opposed to 2016) to re-elect a Black president, 2) apathy towards 2016 candidates by some Black voters, and 3) Black voter disenfranchisement, just to name a few.  For example, many State felony disenfranchisement laws have blocked millions of ex-felons from voting, most of whom are disproportionately Black.

Efforts continue to ensure that unregistered and re-enfranchised voters are able to cast their ballot in future elections [2].  Florida, the state with the highest number of disenfranchised voters, has recently re-enfranchised ex-felons by passing Amendment 4 in 2018, restoring their right to vote after they have served their time in prison and met parole and probation obligations [3].

Jackson [4] provides a comprehensive review of the history of Black voting and voter suppression.  The right to vote has not always been a privilege that was afforded to Black Americans, and to this day, many still fight for that right.  My goal in writing this article is not to tell anyone who to vote for, or what party to affiliate themselves with:  That is your choice!  What I am expressing, unequivocally, with conviction, and unapologetically is that at the polls (and without fail), Black America must Fall In!

References

[1]     File, T. (2017).  Voting in America: A look at the 2016 presidential election.  U.S. Census Bureau.
Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/random-samplings/2017/05/voting_in_america.html

[2]     Jones, S. (2019).  Voting rights:  Andrew Gillum’s next campaign:  Registering voters in Florida.  Intelligencer.
Retrieved from http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/andrew-gillums-next-campaign-registering-voters-in-florida.html

[3]     Panetta, G., & Gal, S. (2019).  Floridians with felony convictions are now beginning to register to vote after the state restored voting rights to 1.5 million felons.  Business Insider.
Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/felony-disenfranchisement-states-florida-amendment-4-voting-rights-2018-11

[4]     Jackson, T. A. (2017). Dilution of the Black vote:  Revisiting the oppressive methods of voting rights restoration for ex-felons.  University of Miami Race  & Social Justice Law Review.
Retrieved from https://repository.law.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1081&context=umrsjlr

Faye

By Faye Jones, Ph.D.
Research Analyst, Black News Channel
Faculty Researcher, Florida State University

Black Research Matters is about empowering our readers with research about themselves, and specifically to inspire and educate our communities with information about the latest innovations and research related to, and developed by, African Americans. As a community, we must know about research that is about us, for us, and from us. Black Research Matters provides an opportunity for both academicians to share information and for the Black community to ask questions and share their experiences. Together we will explore and dissect issues from all angles, but most importantly address how these issues impact Black America. Future themes will be based on your suggestions, and include research topics in health, politics, the economy, finance, education, religion, sports and so much more. BNC welcomes your suggestions, so please send research topics that you are interested in to Dr. Jones.

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