According to NewsOne, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, an organization that “builds transformative relational power with everyday Ohioans for statewide social, racial, and economic justice,” is saluting Black voters in the midwestern state for showing up to the polls in a big way. On Tuesday’s election, two hot topics, abortion and the legalization of marijuana, were on the ballot and it was very clear what side local community members were on.
Following the results, the collective shared their thoughts publicly about voter turnout since Ohio was the only state in the country to let its residents vote on women’s right to receive an abortion and the legalization of marijuana, which has placed many Black and brown people behind bars.
“We are finding the voters that no one else is looking for, including Black people, young people, and returning citizens who have been left out of the process,” OOC’s co-executive director Prentiss J. Haney said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “If you do the work to understand Black voters and create ways for them to feel and exercise their power together, you can confront rightful cynicism, feelings that nothing will change, and low voter turnout.”
NBC News shared data from the polls to break down voters for both areas of concern by race and gender. According to the information provided, 83% of Black voters supported access to abortion, while 72% rallied behind legalizing recreational marijuana for adult consumption. Those figures were “the highest rates” for both ballot measures regarding all citizens who came out to vote, NewsOne reported.
When it came to abortion, it wasn’t a surprise that Black voters made their voices heard given that Black women experience higher rates of teen pregnancy and maternal mortality, according to the Texas Tribune.
“Unlike any other place we’ve seen so far, anti-abortion groups have invested big in misinforming Black Ohioans, in particular,” Planned Parenthood president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in an interview with theGrio.
Determined to get people to the polls, OOC turned to what is known as the Pilot Program to learn effective ways to encourage taxpayers to vote, including former inmates, by utilizing different outreach techniques to educate them. The group also shared the research they believe helped make these elections a success, which Haney believes proves that “people living on the margins make the difference.”
“Black voters who OOC engaged turned out at a higher rate than voters the organization did not reach,” OOC said in a press release according to NewsOne.
As NewsOne reported, “Black-led power building groups in additional states, including Detroit Action in Michigan, POWER Interfaith in Pennsylvania, and New Georgia Project” will replicate what OOC did to meet the community where they’re at to make a difference during their elections moving forward.
Following the Ohio election, democrats are feeling confident heading into the 2024 presidential election, reported the Associated Press.
According to NewsOne, Florida, Nebraska, South Dakota, and some other states will be adding recreational marijuana use to their ballots, which will leave the issue in local residents’ hands to determine if marijuana will become a legal entity as well. It seems “The Buckeye State” is a testament that voting in local elections, including Congressional and Presidential, matters as it plays a significant role when it comes to making a change.
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