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National Urban League, BET launch National Black Voter Day

National Urban League, BET launch National Black Voter Day
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BET and the National Urban League on Friday rolled out National Black Voter Day, an initiative focused on getting Black Americans registered to vote ahead of November.

The undertaking has more than 40 partners, including the NAACP, former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama to young voters: Create 'a new normal in America' by voting for Biden Obama hits trail to help Biden, protect legacy Michelle Obama shares pro-Biden music video featuring Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson MORE’s When We All Vote organization and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Action.

National Black Voter Day is part of BET’s larger nonpartisan #ReclaimYourVote campaign, which was launched earlier this year.

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“In the current climate of uncertainty and unrest, it’s important to make a plan for voting — particularly for Black voters. Efforts to suppress the Black vote are coming from all sides, whether it’s restrictive state voting laws or foreign-based misinformation campaigns. National Black Voter Day is an opportunity to rise above the confusion and plot out a clear path to the ballot box,” National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial said in a statement. “Whether by mask, in person, or by mail, it’s important to make a plan now, and execute that plan as early as possible according to the laws in each state. We’re leaving no voter behind in 2020.”

The objective of National Black Voter Day, according to BET, is to provide resources to help get “voters registered, demystify some of the confusing processes, as well as provide guidance on voting rights restoration for eligible voters, and help voters create their voting plan.”

Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund — a partner of the initiative — told The Hill that voter education is crucial to getting more Black Americans registered.

“Sometimes people don’t participate just because they don’t feel informed, they don’t know who the candidates are, they don’t know what the process is,” Albright said. “For us, the education part is [an] important part of the mobilization and registration process.”

In the 2016 election, Black voter turnout dropped to a 20-year low, something that numerous groups are trying to reverse this November.

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More than 40 states have eased restrictions on mail-in voting this election cycle because of the coronavirus pandemic, but each state has their own procedures, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE has repeatedly sought to cast doubt on the security of voting by mail.

Both the Trump and Biden campaigns have invested heavily in Black voter outreach. Trump badly trails the Democratic nominee with Black voters, though he did garner double-digit support among Black men in 2016.

The Trump Victory Committee is hosting over a dozen Black Voters for Trump events in key battleground states including North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida.

“The right to vote is sacred and should be protected. This is why the RNC set up protectthevote.com and has been so intentional on registering voters and engaging directly with Black Americans from our Black Voices for Trump Community Centers,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielTrump's scorched earth style overshadows campaign's message in final weeks Sunday shows - Trump Michigan rally grabs the spotlight RNC chairwoman: Republicans should realize distancing themselves from Trump 'is hurting themselves in the long run' MORE said in a statement.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Obama says he voted by mail: 'It's not as tough as a lot of folks think' Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis MORE (D-Calif.), Biden’s running mate, penned a Friday op-ed in The Philadelphia Tribune about the inaugural National Black Voter Day.

“The Black community understands just how critical this election is — because we are living the consequences of the last election every day. When it comes to nearly every issue that affects our lives, we have been disproportionately harmed by President Donald Trump and the failures of his administration,” Harris wrote.