By Karen Stokes
The election is less than two weeks away and local Labor Unions and churches are working together to get out the vote.
The Labor Unions are working on efforts to increase turnout. Calls are being made and there has been canvassing by members for weeks. The Labor Unions are aware that the African American vote is important in this election, particularly African American women.
“We have no problem talking to Black women on the importance of this election,” said Sheila Cochran, Chief Operating Officer, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, during a Continued on page 5 conference call. “Women are key in electing working people candidates. African American women are much smarter and closer to their pocketbooks.”
The importance of talking to African American voters is related to the number of this segment of the population who vote.
Based on exit poll data on the 2012 presidential election, over 70 percent of African American women voted in the election while 65.6 percent white women, 62.6 percent white men and 61.4 percent African American men voted.
“Black women won the election for President Obama in 2008 and 2012,” said Jamal Watkins, AFL-CIO National Outreach Director.
There is a question concerning the turnout in November. The fear is that the numbers could drop off for African American women because of the candidates at the top of the ticket.
According to the latest polls compiled on realclearpolitics.com, from various sources, the data shows Secretary Clinton has a 52.6 percent unfavorable rating and Mr. Trump has a 60.5 percent unfavorable rating.
“In Wisconsin, Clinton is up 41 points with union women compared with 10 points with union men,” Watkins said. “Secretary Clinton is ahead because of the values she holds with working people.”
Watkins explained that African American Union women in Wisconsin did not declare a preference with Trump at all which gave him a 0 percent with African American Union voters in Wisconsin.
“We’re excited about the next two weeks and hope that the turnout is strong among women, particularly African American women,” Watkins said.
Voter turnout is also a major focus of the Black Church.
Pastor Teresa Thomas-Boyd, Executive Director of Outreach Ministry, Central City Churches is leading the charge.
“We are ready and already started taking ‘souls to the polls’. The Black church outreach makes sure we do two things, share information and provide transportation,” she said.
Boyd wants to bring together small and midsize churches to motivate, educate and agitate. She believes sometimes people get lax.
“We recognize if people are informed especially within the church they will make good, solid decisions on what the issues are and what the candidate actually stands for,” Thomas-Boyd said. “Let people look at the total platform and not just listen to the emotional issues or topics of the day and don’t let those things determine your vote. Know what you are for.”
Early voting is underway in Milwaukee. A photo ID is required.
Election Day is November 8, 2016.