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IMPACT Releases #VoteReady Report on African American Access to the Polls

IMPACT Releases #VoteReady Report on African American Access to the Polls
Research Highlights Reduced Opportunity for Political Inclusion in 2012 and Beyond

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of Election Day tomorrow, IMPACT releases the report: #VoteReady: African American Voter Access and Reduced Opportunity for Political Involvement 2012 (attached) as part of its #VoteReady movement. Specifically, the report analyzes findings from research on voter identification legislation, population growth, and the influence of geography on political participation, focusing on Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. The purpose of the report is to help political organizers and policy makers target politically vulnerable African Americans who face practical voting obstacles due to geography, i.e. reduced opportunity voters (ROVs), and the lack of photo identification (ID) in 2012 and beyond.

“Even in 2012, people of color are still faced with formidable hurdles when it comes to political participation,” said IMPACT Director Angela Rye. “It is our hope that this report highlights the deficiencies in voting access in order to spur the change we so desperately need for parity in the electoral process.”

Voter ID laws are a reality that will impact future elections in states in which they have been enacted. As such, not possessing a photo ID coupled with the lack of access to a DMV office demonstrates how overly cumbersome it is for citizens to be politically involved with voter ID requirements.

Major findings from this study include:

Approximately 367,000 African American voting age citizens will have their opportunity to vote reduced based on Florida’s requirement that voters show photo identification or some other form of ID that displays a signature.

If Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is enacted for future elections, 115,000 African American voting age citizens will have their opportunity to vote reduced based on the state’s voter ID law.
Overall, in Pennsylvania and Florida, there are 482,000 African American voting age citizens will have their opportunity to vote reduced.

In Florida, African American voter growth rates rose at almost twice the rate of their White counterparts between the 2000 and the 2004 Presidential election, i.e. 34% to 19%, compared to 2004 to 2008, which was twenty times that of their White counterparts, i.e. 21% to 1%, respectively.

Most importantly, there is no clear method to determine the large potential impact on states’ introduction and enactment of voter ID laws. Therefore, IMPACT recommends that states continue to make voting easy, fair, and accessible.

IMPACT launched the #VoteReady movement in August 2012 to help answer three questions:

Am I prepared to vote;
Am I registered to vote;
Where do I cast my vote?

IMPACT’s goal is to prepare, engage, and educate youth and young professionals to ensure American citizens are equipped and prepared to go to the polls tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, 2012. As witnessed by this report, #VoteReady will also increase voter education and engagement among those who are disproportionately affected by recently enacted voter identification laws.

IMPACT is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit www.IMPACT-dc.com or follow @teamIMPACT.

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