ATL, Your Vote is Your Voice
On Tuesday December 5, Atlanta voters will head to the polls again, this time for the mayoral runoff. In this particular race between City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms and Councilwoman Mary Norwood will decide if the one of the blackest cities in the United States will retain an African American mayor. Ahead of the election, Black Girl Beautiful talks with local African American women about the importance of casting your ballot.
There are roughly 641,000 registered voters in Fulton County Georgia and 23 percent of those voters are African American women. In the November election, the voter turnout was incredibly low with only 20 percent of registered voters actually going to the polls.
Why aren't more Black citizens exercising their right to vote?
Historically, African Americans have been disenfranchised from the election process for generations. Our parents and grandparents were denied their right to vote until the passing and implementation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Of the women we interviewed, many mentioned that Black voters are not aware of just how important their vote is or even how the political process works. Yes presidential elections matter, but so do local and state elections. If you want to open a business, if you're concerned about the quality of your child's education, and even if the roads need to be repaired in your neighborhood, these things are all decided on by elected officials.
WHY THE MAYORAL RACE MATTERS?
Let's put some things into perspective. According to the 2010 census report, Atlanta's Black population is 1.9 million. About 263,000 are registered to vote in Fulton County. That's 13 percent. We always want our elected officials to accurately reflect us, the people. As Black Americans, we don't want Atlanta to be a repeat of Ferguson, a city of racial strife where the black population was incredibly divided and did not come together to elect a black mayor. If you don't think this can happen in Atlanta, keep in mind that in 2009 current Mayor Kasim Reed won the election by just 741 votes. This goes to show you that EVERY VOTE COUNTS.
Stay educated. Many of us don't vote because we are not informed on the issues, the candidates, and what matters to our people. Politics within the Black community should not be taboo. If you want to stay up-to-date on the hot ticket items for African American women, visit BlackGirlsVote.com.
*Statistics courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State.*