HBCU millennials energized to vote!
Lauren Poteat, NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent | 9/10/2018, 2:13 p.m.
During the contentious 2016 presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, voter turnout still proved to be at an all-time low among students who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
In a report released by Tufts University, 2016 voter turnout plummeted by more than 10 points at HBCUs — from 50.5 percent to 39.9 percent.
Only two-years after the election of the very controversial and confrontational President Trump, Kamau Marshall, Director of African American Media and Deputy National Press Secretary,Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC),says that HBCU students are more active and energized to get their vote out and let their voices be heardthan ever.Energizing this voting block will make a difference to the outcome of severalvery important contests this November.
“With the Fall semester kicking off, there is a lot of momentum surrounding this very political climate,” Marshall said. “With November elections right around the corner, HBCU students are playing an active and important role when it comes to voting and voter registration.”
Believing in hope and the possibility of change, many historically Black institutions across the nation are taking the reins when it comes to increasing voter awareness and registration among their student body. For example, Howard University, located in the heart of the nation’s capital, registered over 1,200 new voters during the month of August.
“The more you get involved, the more your voice matters,” Amos Jackson III, president of the Howard Student Government Association (SGA) said. “That’s why it’s was so important for us to heavily promote voter registration. During our August Freshmen move-in day, we were able to register hundreds of new voters.”
“There are a lot of issues up for debate, including higher education costs, gun reform and scholarship budgets, that directly affect millennials,” Jackson continued. “So, when people say that their vote doesn’t count, that’s definitely not true. Your vote matters.”
Howard provides both new and returning students valuable information, including handouts on absentee ballots and voter choices. Howard students are also encouraged to sign up for a service known as “TurboVote,” an app that sends notifications about upcoming elections, an initiative whose success comes as no surprise to Marshall.
“HBCU students are ready to support whoever has their best interest at heart,” Marshall said. “As an HBCU alum—history shows that HBCU students have always been engaged when it comes to the political process. The difference is always with likable candidates.”
In states like Florida and Georgia, HBCU participation is at an all-time high, as students and other citizens eagerly await the hopeful election of productive new governors.
In the state of Florida, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democratic, hopes to become the state’s first Black governor in his campaign against Republican Rep. Rob DeSantis.
The race will be one of the most closely watched contests this November, since DeSantis has tied himself to President Donald Trump and defeated other more establishment Republicans.
However, Gillum, a firm believer in Medicare for all, has the backing of progressives like Bernie Sanders and the Black community, who were largely responsible for his upset win during the state’s Democratic primary.