The Internet and the Black Voter
As the presidential election campaigns wind down America is looking forward to a new face in the White House. African-Americans we can wish Brother President Barack Obama and his family a loving farewell with thanks.
But as black voters we need to understand three things. First, our support of the first black president was a powerful indicator of what changes can come about when we vote. The black vote secured President Obama’s first and second terms. Second, the black vote can be powerful and not just in presidential elections. We can change things from our own neighborhoods to what happens in Washington D.C. If we vote. Finally, Black people have died for this right. Not acting on it is a sickening betrayal.
The Internet is an effective tool to extract the power of black voters. To be a voter you must first register. Many states (not all) make it easy to register. Some states allow you to register at the local DMV also know as “motor voter” or post office. But if you have not registered to vote you can visit USA.gov to get the process started and get valuable information about voting in your state. You can also search the Internet for your polling place.
Young black people are in love with technology, especially social media. And social media is helping the democratic process by using their platforms to get young people registered to vote. SnapChat began encouraging young users to register via its app by running video ads. According to Mashable the ads are shown only to users who are 18 years of age and older. This is a powerful effort because Snapchat is used on a daily basis by 41 percent of all people aged 18 to 34 years old in the U.S.
Other social media sites that are urging voter registration can be found in this report from Mashable. Though not a social media site even Uber is encouraging participation in the democratic process.
Google and Facebook, the world’s most powerful social network, are also encouraging you to vote and helping you get registered. Simply search “how to register to vote” and Google will tell you how to do it in your state. Facebook offers a “Register Now” button that sends the user to Vote.gov.
Voter registration apps are all over the place. So black people have no excuse for not being registered. A simple web search can reveal a voter website, app or printable form for all fifty states. Its that simple.
Registering to vote could also get you a date or help find a significant other. There are apps that can hook you up with a like minded voter for romance.
But there is more to it than just registering to vote and then stepping up to the ballot box. Black people need to be informed voters; know what’s happening!
Finding information on your local, state and national issues is as simple searching the Internet. Want to know what your representative is doing or has done? Want to check out his biography? Examine his life, his voting position on issues that affect black voters? How he has voted on issues that affect you? Who is contributing money to his campaign? You can find that information and a helluva lot more at Votesmart.org. This is one of the most powerful and impartial voter information tools available to the black voter. You can even call them with a question and someone will personally research your question and get you an answer.
Another powerful voter information tool is Countable.us. This is an informative website and application that allows the voter to read about the current bills moving through Congress and issues facing the federal government. The voter can get fair and impartial synopsis of current bills, where they are in the legislative process, what they will cost the taxpayer, who supports the bill and why and when the vote is expected to take place. In addition the user can direct email their representative their stance on the issue or bill. Download Countable.us for Apple and Android devices.
Finally do you know who your elected representative is? To find who is representing you on the local, state and nation level check out the Common Cause website to find that person.
Now you know.