About Antiracist Voter
The murder of George Floyd created a moment of reflection and rededication to racial equality. But moments are ephemeral. Americans have a notoriously short attention span.
How do we maintain momentum so that the moment becomes a movement?
How do we translate the demands of protests into the domain of policy?
Antiracist ideas are activated in antiracist policy, especially in local elections.
What is an Antiracist?
The goal is racial equality. According to Ibram X. Kendi, “Race is a power construct of collected or merged difference that lives socially.”
“Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities… Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing.”
“An antiracist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy by their actions, or expressing an antiracist idea.”
Antiracist Ideas and Policy
According to Kendi, “An antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equal in all their apparent differences – that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racists policies are the cause of racial inequities.”
“An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people.”
Antiracist Policy is Local
In the United States, there are over 90,000 local governments and 500,000 local officials. According to the National League of Cities, local government impacts your day to day life more than any other form of government.
Criminal justice, economic justice, environmental justice, education, housing, health, and voting rights all begin with local governments. Local governments control:
- Tax collection and disbursements. Over $1 trillion in public funding is dispersed locally.
- Planning, permitting, and enforcement.
- Police, fire, and public safety services.
- Sewage, water treatment, and waste management.
- Schools, libraries, and other education resources.
- Public transportation. Roads, paths, bridges, and other infrastructure.
- Public health services.
Those closest to the problems are often closest to the solutions. To impact policy, local people must vote in local elections.
Yet, only 30% of eligible voters vote in local elections
Despite the importance of local elections, only 30% of eligible voters vote in local elections. In many local elections, voter turnout can be in the single digits. And, though 60% of eligible voters vote in presidential elections, many voters don’t vote all the way down the ballot, skipping local candidates and ballot initiatives.
Barriers to voting in local elections
What keeps people from voting in local elections? One study from the Knight Foundation found that Millennials don’t vote in local elections because:
- I don’t have enough information about the candidates (72%).
- I don’t know enough about the local issues (62%).
- There’s not enough news coverage of local elections (40%)
Information about Candidates
Lack of Local
Other barriers to voting in local elections include:
- I don’t know when local elections are held (20%).
- I don’t have enough time to vote in local elections (17%).
- It’s not worth it. My vote doesn’t matter (17%).
What we're doing about it
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