NAACP plans U.S. election day broadcasts from polls
BALTIMORE (Reuters) - In a mix of electoral politics and radio promotion, the NAACP said Thursday it will urge African-Americans to vote on election day via live radio broadcasts from voting places in several battleground states.
The nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization has teamed up with black celebrities including ABC-syndicated radio talk show host Tom Joyner and Black Entertainment Television's Tavis Smiley for the most aggressive voter turnout drive in its 91-year history.
Joyner, who's Tom Joyner Morning Show reaches 6 million listeners in 100 radio markets, will be joined by Smiley and other on-air personalities from polling places in Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Miami and St. Louis.
The program will offer special get-out-the-vote features including "Shout Outs," in which listeners can urge friends, family and co-workers to go to the polls.
The broadcast sites put the spotlight on four battleground states -- Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Missouri -- where Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore and Republican candidate George W. Bush are locked in close contests for the 270 Electoral College votes needed to capture the White House.
"I have to confess, I've never heard of this being done before," said David Bositis, senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington think-tank devoted to minority politics. "The NAACP has money this year -- which they've never had before. And they are committed."
With more than $9 million in donations and a new soft-money affiliate called the National Voter Fund, the NAACP has sought to galvanize black Americans this year around several core issues including racial profiling, hate crimes legislation and the future of the Supreme Court, all of which favor Gore.
Last month, the NAACP ended a lengthy drive aimed at registering 4 million new voters. A complete tally of the drive's results are not yet available.
Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.