The NAACP is partnering with several other civil rights groups to launch a national voter mobilization campaign this week that aims to engage more people in the fight for federal voting legislation and motivate voters to participate in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
NAACP leaders say the “Fighting for Our Vote” campaign will target diverse cities in states that have passed restrictive voter laws such as Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Miami. The campaign will include radio and digital promotions, phone banking and knocking on doors to urge people to register to vote and call their state senators to demand voter protections. Much of the focus will be in vulnerable Black and brown communities.
Partnering groups include the ACLU, National Education Association, AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers and the AFSCME.
The effort is the latest strategy being used by voting rights advocates to combat a wave of state-level voter restrictions passed this year that sparked rallies and protests in DC, Texas and elsewhere. It also aims to increase pressure on lawmakers to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement and For the People acts even as Congress is on recess, said Dominik Whitehead, vice president of campaigns for the NAACP.
The NAACP has led voter engagement campaigns ahead of previous elections, however, organization leaders say the current assault on voting rights creates an urgency to take action more than a year before the midterms.
“It is important to engage the public on what’s happening with voting rights now because it is a democracy literally at stake,” Whitehead said. “What Congress is doing, what certain state legislatures are doing across the country, they are retaliating against voters for what happened in 2020” when Democrats gained control of the White House and Congress, he said.
Civil rights leaders and Democrats have lobbied for congressional leaders and President Joe Biden to get legislation passed and end the filibuster which has made it impossible for Democrats to move forward with voting rights legislation because their slim majority in the Senate isn’t enough to overcome GOP opposition. Many, including Texas Democrats, have traveled to DC in recent weeks to protest and hold rallies.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson also urged Biden to include voting rights in the infrastructure bill saying fair voter access is a critical function of the country’s democracy.
Whitehead said the NAACP and its partner groups plan to deploy volunteers and organizers across the country to promote the campaign, educate voters about the election process and help them get registered.
He said this effort is about Black and brown voters “taking the power back” despite Republican efforts to suppress their votes.
“For us it’s about one, letting folks know we are not giving up, and two letting folks know if we have the power if we act, if we organize, if we engage, and if we do the work together,” Whitehead said.