You Decide 2022: Voter engagement – your vote matters
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - If you have ever said to yourself my vote doesn’t matter, Dejuana Thompson wants to talk to you, really talk.
Dejuana is passionate about getting people to understand their right to vote and what happens when they don’t.
Here in Alabama, the birthplace of John Lewis, and many others who placed so much value on the right to vote, they were willing to risk their lives. Dujana Thompson knows voting is not just a privilege.
“When you hear numbers like turn out rates 28%, 27%, 35%...they are excited about 35%. Yes, that’s a big number.”
The president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is committed to the voting process and says we should all share that commitment. “Because I’ve done a lot of voting, a study around what’s called turn out numbers which is what you are discussing, that 35% is a very big number in terms of the way we vote as a country. I’ve worked in other countries that voted 90% of 94% Ghana, West Africa, or Trinidad.
The difference here is, Thompson says voters are not always convinced about what’s in it for them. “So, I hate when people say oh the Black community is disconnected from the vote or young people don’t want to vote or this person who is in a certain socio-economic background doesn’t want to vote.”
My question automatically is, “When did you ask for their vote? At what point did you engage them? Was it two days before the election?”
Engaging voters is what Thompson knows best- she is the founder of Nonpartisan Woke Vote – mobilizing voters to get to the polls.
“There is so much noise - and then you hear your organization is called Woke Vote –you hear so much about woke – it’s used as a weapon almost. “Thompson says it’s a distraction from being informed about the issues, and when voters understand how those issues impact their lives.
“When we see that and are able to show people here’s what’s at stake and here’s how it aligns – this is why voting for the district attorney is important. This is why voting for the Jefferson County Sheriff is important. This is why voting for the mayor is important. This is why voting for the state representative is important.”
Here’s another thing about turn out. Thompson says it directly related to making it easy to vote- in some places, Election Day is holiday- or there is early voting- we also talked about redistricting maps in Alabama - and why that matters.
Part 1 Interview
Part 2 Interview
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