Tuesday’s elections are on record for the highest early voter turnout seen in a midterm. It is also on record for the highest level of fundraising for congressional elections. It had the highest number of candidates that ran across the country, the highest number of female candidates running and the highest number of LGBT candidates running as well. In the end, the final numbers showed overwhelming participation among voters nationwide, and it proved to be a true test of the democratic process.
Among African Americans, Tuesday was also a day of uncertainty. Would Democratic hopefuls Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum or Ben Jealous emerge as the first Black female governor of Georgia or the first Black governor of Florida, or the first Black governor of Maryland? Would Black voters heed the call of civil rights leaders, clergy and entertainers to turn out en masse? And would the voting process work equally and equitably for every voter in every state?
Despite the losses by Black candidates in Florida, Georgia and Maryland, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said Tuesday demonstrated a “remarkable wave of grassroots activism that swept across the country.” Not only did Black voters turn out en masse, but organizations such as the NAACP, the National Coalition for Black Voter Participation, Black faith organizations and committed individuals volunteered at the polls and monitored the election process that proved to still be broken, particularly in communities of color.
So what’s next? The year 2020. Voter education, registration and participation will be critical when both the presidential election and the 2020 Census take place. It will be the year when all Americans will have to decide whether to be counted or to be counted out at the polls and in their homes. It will be the year that voters determine the future for the next generation.