The 2022 midterm elections are perhaps the most consequential in our lifetime. While similar declarations are made every voting cycle, this is especially true this year. Whether abortion rights, criminal justice, human rights, health care, or a plethora of others, each election cycle has its share of issues that take prominence and precedence over others.
This year, none is more important than the preservation of our democracy. While we have major issues that demand our attention, it is quite possible that if we do not vote now to save our democracy, then we will have little or no hope for addressing any of the issues that are important to us, such as equal rights, equity, and yes, the economy. If we lose our democracy, we have no hope of pursuing them through a democratic process.
Election deniers and suppressors are working overtime to ensure that our vote is nullified or diluted. We must respond in such large numbers that we overwhelm and thwart their efforts, until we gain the political power to overturn their suppressive voter restrictions. Their goal is not to ensure governance through a democratic process, but to take control in an autocratic manner. While they shout about election abuse, their intent is to use abusive tactics to maintain control. Let’s be clear, they are afraid of losing in open and fair elections.
As we continue declaring to the world that our lives matter, we must remind ourselves of the one fact that gives life to this declaration, it is the fact that voting still matters. Not just because many people died for the precious right to vote, though that alone is enough and worth fighting for, but voting still impacts the political decisions which determine nearly every aspect of the quality of our lives.
According to a 2022 Pew Research Center article, “Key facts about Black eligible voters in 2022,” by Mohamad Moslimani, Black Americans are projected to account for 13.6% of all eligible voters in the United States in the November elections. This is political power. Power to determine outcomes in critical races.
The National Urban League declares that “For African Americans, full voter participation isn’t a goal; it’s a necessity.” In the 2022 NUL State of Black America, Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League wrote “… and since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the United States has seen a steady rise in disenfranchisement practices giving one party an edge over the other. But never before has the nation seen such an insidious and coordinated campaign to obliterate the very principle of ‘one person, one vote’ from the political process.” NUL’s Reclaim Your Vote session examined the stakes and the opportunities for African Americans as this year’s election season enters its final stretch.
Here at the Greater Washington Urban League, we loudly and boldly urge Black, brown, marginalized and underserved persons everywhere, to vote. Through a discussion on our radio broadcast, and voter registration and participation messages through our auxiliaries, the Greater Washington Urban League Guild and Thursday Network, we are using our voice to urge you to vote.
But here’s what you can do! It’s not too late for you to start your own get-out-the-vote effort! Here are four simple things you can do to be a part of this movement:
1. Cast your vote – if you have not already participated in local early voting, then start your campaign by declaring to yourself that nothing will stop you from voting whether through early voting (if it’s still possible in your area), or on Election Day.
2. Urge your relatives and friends across the nation to vote – contact your personal network and urged them to vote. While you cannot vote in other communities across the nation where our vote is critical, you can and must contact persons in your own network who live in states with key races across the nation. Call a relative, call a friend, and ask them to vote.
3. Use your social media influence. You are an influencer and have followers who will be motivated by you to exercise their right to vote. Use your social media platform of choice – Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, to reach as many persons as you can.
4. Encourage every person in your network to conduct their own individual “get out the vote initiatives.” As you reach out to your family, friends and associates urging them to vote, ask them to take steps, two and three above, just as you will. Collectively, we can determine the outcome of critically close elections across the country.
Our strong appeal to you, is to urge every person you know to vote their interests. Tell them not to waste energy on candidates and organizations that have never shown an interest in our issues
Who are we if we fail to carry the torch to save not only ourselves but future generations? We don’t want to be that generation that failed to act to save our democracy, protect our rights, and end our ability to have control over our destiny. While not perfect, a less perfect union is unacceptable!
Lambert is president and CEO of the Greater Washington Urban League.