Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

(NNPA)—In all democracies, the right to vote is fundamental to the legitimacy of an elected government chosen by the participatory action and will of the people eligible to vote. For 47 million Black Americans, the right to vote is a sacred responsibility without the fear of reprisal, retribution or repression.

It’s 2016 and this year’s national elections in the United States are only a few days away. Yet, in many states early voting has already begun.  Keep in mind in the last national presidential race in 2012, Black Americans went to the polls in record numbers with over 17.8 million casting their ballots even in face of voter suppression tactics mainly by Republican officials in various states in the Midwest, Southwest and in the South.

Black America had a higher percentage turnout of voters than White voters across the nation in 2012.  The Black percentage turnout was 66.2 percent versus 64.1 percent for White voters. The election results in November will ultimately be determined by the percentage of overall voter turnout.

If the Black vote was not so strategically important and determinative today, you would not see the current manifestations of blatantly racist acts designed to suppress the Black vote.  Such is the case today, especially in Indiana, North Carolina and in other states where Black voter turnout is key to winning the election.

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