A coalition of Atlanta NAACP branches, following up a successful 19-county voter registration, education, and participation effort for the Nov. 3 election, announced the launch of 60 such events to increase voter turnout in the upcoming election.
The ambitious plan will include more than 20 voter registration events, a similar number of community outreach forums with food and speakers and a number of early voting efforts, said Richard Rose, who is spearheading the effort as president of the NAACP Atlanta Branch.
“Our coalition of NAACP branch presidents, staff and volunteers, working with a plethora of community organizations and churches has been working on this for months, and we’ve seen results,” Rose said. “We targeted 19 counties where 77 percent of African Americans live, and in virtually every county, we saw on average a 7-point increase in voter turnout compared to 2016.
“But the battle is not yet over. So, we are continuing what so far has been a successful effort to increase voter participation in the key counties where 77 percent of the African American electorate live.”
The counties include Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Clayton, Dekalb, Douglas, Dougherty, Fayette, Ful ton, Gwinnett, Henry, Houston, Lowndes, Paulding, Muscogee, Newton, Richmond, and Rockdale, Rose said. In Gwinnett County, NAACP branch President Penny Poole said her organization’s efforts paid off with a dramatic increase in Black voters. “We had 155,000 Black people turn out through mail-in ballots, early voting and same-day voting,” Poole said. “So, we are redoubling our efforts. We’ll be doing phone banking, voter registration and I’m sure we will be doing some community rallies,” Poole said. “We’ll also be doing contact-free canvassing, like hanging fliers on door knobs in low voter turnout areas.”
In Augusta, Richmond County NAACP Branch President the Rev. Melvin Ivey said his organization will do all the things it did previously, but it will concentrate on communities that had lower than desired turnout on November 3rd.
“We had a 62 to 65 percent turnout, which is lower than 70 percent we projected,” Ivey said. “So, we’re targeting communities that didn’t turnout the way we expected and try to figure out why they didn’t. We will also set up voter registration at Lowe’s and Walmart on the weekends because just about everybody comes through there. We’ll also do mobile billboards, and we’ll look at high volume areas of public transportation to engage people.”
Rose said the branches will continue to work with their previous partners, including Vote Your Voice, an initiative by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta; The New Georgia Project, a voter-participation project created by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Staci Abrams, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia, numerous churches, the 100 Back Men, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the National Pan Hellenic Council, which is made up of nine African American fraternities and sororities.
They also welcome additional support. “We need volunteers and we need financial help,” Rose said. “We are making a difference, but this fight is not over.” Donations are accepted at donate.naacpatlanta.org/, via Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Cash App at $NAACPAtlanta, and by mail to the office.