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Archive: 2003

December,  2003

A Political Booty Call: Democratic and Republican Outreach to Blacks  12/28/03 Black America Web: "It’s that time of the decade. A presidential election is rounding the bend and, right on cue, the Republican and Democratic parties are beginning to squabble over which deserves the black vote come Election Day. The GOP’s “big tent” rhetoric has been dusted off and reworked new millennium style, with keywords to appeal to young adults, 18-35, who are black. The Republican National Committee has a media blitz in the works just for them. The Democrats are marshaling their troops, fearful once again of desertions or mutinies by a black constituency that has been the party’s mainstay ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt made government beholden to ordinary folks. The Democratic National Committee knows that black defections – or inaction – will kill whatever faint hopes it has of defeating George W. Bush next November."

GOP Makes 'Top Priority' Of Converting Black Voters  12/25/03 Washington Post: "To win hearts and minds, the GOP is planning a campaign featuring television and radio ads touting President Bush's reaching out to the African American community and elements of the Republican message that appeal to a wide swath of black voters, such as support for school vouchers. "We have to make our case in media that African Americans listen to," Gingrich said. "It will be a much more intense effort . . . to reach out in advertising and education and systematic outreach. We have to realize the reality of [Black Entertainment Television] and radio stations that we are not used to being on." "

Will Candidates Deliver for the African American Vote? The 2004 Black Agenda  12/24/03 Village Voice 

Trial ordered in Florida felon voting lawsuit  12/19/03 AP: "A federal appeals court Friday ordered a trial in a lawsuit which claims that Florida's law barring felons from voting is unconstitutional because it discriminates against blacks. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta decided there are enough relevant facts to allow lawyers on both sides of the issue to present evidence at a hearing. A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to send the case back to a trial judge to hear arguments that the law violates equal protection and voting rights claims… Roughly 600,000 Floridians are banned from voting for the rest of their lives because of felony convictions, according to the Florida Equal Rights Voting Project. More than a third of those are black, according to American Civil Liberties Union estimates."

Is America sick?  12/19/03 The Age, Australia: "American democracy had deep flaws long before the 2000 election. For instance, each of our 50 States elects two of the country's 100 senators. Wyoming's 500 000 residents elect two senators. California has 68 times the population of Wyoming; its 34 million residents also elect two senators. This means each Wyoming resident has 68 times more weight than a Californian in choosing the country's 100 senators. Instead of 'one man one vote', we have 'one man 68 votes'. Because of the many low density conservative States in the middle of the country, this one issue has a major influence on the tone of our national debate. It gives conservatives a voice out of proportion with their numbers. It also gives them an unfair weight in questions the Senate settles without input from the House of Representatives, like confirming federal judges. (For laws, the House of Representatives balances the Senate somewhat because we elect its members in proportion to population.) To make matters worse, the high cost of senatorial campaigns gives us a Senate that resembles a millionaires' club. The 100 members of the 108th Senate include at least 40 millionaires--taking the low end of official financial disclosures that exclude the value of senators' homes.[1] The 100 senators include 86 men, 59 law school graduates, no Hispanics and no blacks, a composition that hardly mirrors the population.[2] "

What's Wrong With This Picture?  12/17/03 Alternet: ""The Color of Money 2003" highlights the dramatic disparity between America's diverse population and the small number of people who finance political campaigns. Examining federal contribution data for the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, the report draws the unfortunate conclusion that "in a political system in which you have to pay to play, people of color are largely excluded from the game." Now, of course people of color know they've been excluded from the political system but it is nice to have 34-page report to factually back up those feelings of exclusion. Whether it's the blatant ignoring of African-Americans denied their Constitutional right to vote in the 2000 presidential election, President Bush attempting to end affirmative action or Hillary Clinton, who, after receiving 90 percent of the minority votes in New York City, first thanked the voters from upstate New York for her Senate victory."

Color Of Money  12/17/03 Tom Paine: "Supporters of campaign finance reform are rejoicing over last week's Supreme Court decision that upheld major provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act—also known as McCain-Feingold. The decision was good news, but so long as we rely on a system of private financing for elections, we are far from meaningful campaign finance reform. Private financing of elections effectively excludes racial and ethnic minorities—as well as people of modest means—while providing disproportionate power and access to wealthy and white neighborhoods. In short: Campaign finance reform is a modern-day civil rights issue."

GOP to court Blacks over radio  12/13/03 AP: "In an effort to break the Democratic Party's grip on the Black vote, several leading Black Republicans have accepted an offer from one of the nation's largest urban radio networks to deliver a weekly address targeting African-Americans. Alphonso Jackson, whom President Bush nominated to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will present the first address today at 1:06 p.m., said Jerry Lopes, president of program operations and affiliations at Pittsburgh-based American Urban Radio Networks."

African American Republican Leadership Council  12/12/03 Disinfopedia: "The African American Republican Leadership Council (AARLC) says that its mission is to "break the liberal Democrat stranglehold over Black America." Currently only 14 percent of African-Americans vote Republican. AARLC seeks to "increase African Americans support for common sense Reaganite Republican public policies ... to a strategic target of 25 percent," a "necessary threshold" needed to elect Republicans in electoral races "where the black electorate can be the deciding vote." "

Black Voters Ready to ‘Get Even’ for 2000 Fiasco  12/11/03 Jacksonville Advocate: “I think there is still a lot of anger out there after what happened in Election 2000, people’s votes not getting counted,” observes Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition for Black Voter Participation (NCBVP) a non-profit group of more than 80 organizations, which encourages civic activism in the Black community. “This is the very first presidential election that we’ll be faced with. We’re going to do a media launch right at the top of the New Year.”

Black vote crucial for Democrat win in Houston election  12/6/03 Washington Times 

BLACK SENATORS BLAST GOP PLAN  12/6/03 Wilmington Journal, NC: "Once again during the two-day redistricting debate last week, state GOP lawmakers called themselves “standing up” for black voters who were being taken from predominately black Democratic voting districts, and moved into predominately white Democratic districts in order sure up white incumbents there. By doing so, white Democrats decimated the black majorities in those districts, the Republicans charge, and lessen the assurance that black candidates will be elected. “What you’ve done is dilute nine minority districts,” NC Senate Minority Leader Sen. Patrick Ballentine, a New Hanover County Republican, told the Senate Democratic majority just before the third redistricting map in two years was passed. He even charged that they were violating the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act, which is supposed to protect black voting rights. The Senate plan actually cuts black majorities in seven districts, six of which had elected black senators. The House plan reduced black voting-age population in 13 of 22 districts where it was 40 percent or more. But outside of Sen. Larry Shaw of Cumberland County, none of the other black state senators were buying the Republican line."

Black clergy begin vote drive  12/4/03 Washington Times: this paper is published at a loss by the Rev. Moon - "Black religious leaders disgruntled with the Bush administration have teamed with People for the American Way to conduct a national voter-registration drive in states where the president won by slim margins in 2000. The African American Ministers Leadership Council, a nonpartisan group that advocates social policy empowerment for blacks in local and national government, will begin a yearlong campaign to register black voters. The organization falls under the umbrella of People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group. The drive will be conducted in seven states — Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Missouri — from Dec. 19 through November."

Republicans Reach for Black Voters  12/1/03 Black America Web 

A growing political force to be reckoned with: black Republicans  12/1/03 Sarasota Herald Tribune: "The ballroom of the Hyatt in downtown Sarasota was filled to capacity with 200 people at a $75-per-plate dinner. Typical Republican shindig, except for one thing: Most of the attendees were black. The occasion was the first inaugural banquet of the SaraMana Black Republican Club… A study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies last year found that in the previous two years, black support for Democrats dropped 11 percentage points, resulting in less than two-thirds calling themselves Democrats. Meanwhile, support for Republicans more than doubled among black voters, from 4 percent to 10 percent."

November,  2003

Register to Vote Now at  11/30/03 Black America Webv 

Lawmaker hopes PAC will draw more black women into politics  11/23/03 Newsday: "A New Jersey assemblywoman hopes a national political action committee formed last year can successfully draw more black women into New Jersey politics. "There is a perspective that needs to be addressed, and having more diverse elected officials is important because this is one of the most diverse states in the union," Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, a member of the Women Building for the Future, told The Record of Bergen County for Saturday's editions."

Black Voters Still a Major Force  11/19/03 Black America Web: "If proof were needed, election results around the country this month indicate that the black vote was a significant factor in those contests, and will be critical to the outcome of next year’s presidential election. While the American electorate is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, blacks cast their ballots overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidates in the Mississippi, Kentucky and Louisiana gubernatorial races and in the Philadelphia mayoral campaign. “Although the black vote is extremely important to both parties, blacks don’t vote Republican in large numbers,” David Bositis, an analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D. C., told “This has been true since the 1960s.” "

CLAIM DEMOCRACY CONFERENCE, NOV. 21-23: Securing, Enhancing and Exercising the Right to Vote  11/16/03 Dogon Village: "Leaders from the nation's top democracy and civil rights groups, elected officials and presidential candidates will descend on Washington, D.C. on November 21-23, 2003 for the Claim Democracy conference. The conference is an exciting mix of high-profile plenaries, hands-on workshops, book signings and break-out sessions that will give a diverse range of scholars, elected officials, national, state and local reformers and young activists an opportunity to learn from past pro-democracy movements and help build strong new movements for the future."

Black vote costs Bobby dear  11/16/03 Rediff: "When pollsters indicated, in the week running up to the election for Governor of Louisiana, that Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal had likely secured between 12-14 per cent of black votes; incumbent Governor Mike Foster, Jindal's mentor, saw that as an omen."

Northern Blacks on the move: Will their politics follow?  11/16/03 Yellow Times: "Who would have thought African Americans would return home in such large numbers for comfort, rest, and renewed hope? Perhaps the South is rising again, with a more mellowed face, just wanting the future to be different than the past. You can see it the metropolitan sophistication of Atlanta to the seaside resorts of Hilton Head, South Carolina. More than 680,000 blacks moved to the South between 1995 and 2000, according the U.S. Census Bureau. African Americans now hold more than 5,500 elected positions south of the Mason- Dixon Line. There are now black mayors in Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Birmingham. You don't have to worry about getting harassed (overtly) in northerner-viewed "dreaded" Mississippi, but you do have to wonder that your money might be taken for a ride in a Biloxi casino. Oh, there is one thing people shouldn't forget either: the battle for life, liberty, and the pursuit of equality isn't over. In fact, it may be just beginning."

Ignoble day for Finneran  11/13/03 Boston Globe: "In an unusual, if not unprecedented, development, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran is expected to take the witness stand tomorrow morning in US District Court, where a three-judge panel is pondering claims that the districts in the Massachusetts House are unfair to minority voters in Boston and Chelsea."

Why Vote In 2004?  11/12/03 BWT: "In a recent issue of Roll Call, Democratic strategist and former Gore presidential campaign manager, Donna Brazile stated, "It's time that the Democratic National Committee and the presidential candidates who are becoming the party's face get back to the fundamentals of winning elections. Unless the party enlarges the electorate by re-engaging nonvoters — those who see their concerns being overlooked — at the local level and recruit quality down-ballot candidates to connect with voters at the grassroots level, the GOP will continue to have greater success in pulling their base out to vote." Ms. Brazile's comments seem like commonsense, but inside the Beltway where many political consultants ply their trade her thoughts are counterintuitive. Consultants' main strategy involves targeting groups who have a history of voting: White Americans, older Americans, the affluent, and increasingly women; from the consultants' vantage points to do otherwise is stupid. Thus despite all of the rhetoric and hoopla about outreach and expanding the base, both political parties commit very little resources and time to attracting non-traditional voters, i.e., young people, poor and working class and non-Whites."

Many blacks with Democrat roots vote Republican, hoping for change  11/10/03 Daily Press: "Despite the predictable outcome of Tuesday's elections, there was one intriguing aspect of the results: Many blacks voted Republican."

Black caucus discusses faith, election  11/9/03 News Star, LA 

Black Democrats Can't Win, but Can Influence Party's Direction  11/6/03 Black America Web 

Challengers likely raised black vote, observers say  11/6/03 Louisville Courier Journal: "A Republican plan to place challengers in 59 Jefferson County precincts likely helped raise voter turnout among African Americans in Tuesday's election, according to a civil-rights leader and University of Louisville professor."

The Last Disenfranchised Class  11/6/03 The Nation: "But if history offers any lessons, it won't be an easy fight or a quick one. That's because, according to some sociologists who study disenfranchisement, the removal of barriers for felons could affect the political balance of power in this country. For one thing, felons who get the chance vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and with a Republican administration in power, there is little chance for change on a national scale."

Ky. Judge Won't Ban GOP Poll Challengers  11/3/03 AP: "Republican poll challengers will be allowed to observe predominantly black precincts in Tuesday's election after a judge turned down a request to block them… The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky claimed the vote watchers could intimidate minority voters or slow the voting process in the election for governor. Judge Thomas Wine said Monday that he understood the ACLU's concern, but it wasn't enough to grant a restraining order. He said anyone caught intimidating voters could be removed by election officials and later prosecuted. While campaigning in black neighborhoods, Democrat Ben Chandler accused the GOP of trying to "suppress" voters. Chandler faces Republican Rep. Ernie Fletcher in Kentucky's gubernatorial race."

October,  2003

We are the balance of power: VOTE!  10/29/03 SF Bay View: "We hold the balance of political power in San Francisco if we exercise our right to vote in the election this Tuesday, Nov. 4. While other voters split their votes between candidates to the left and right, the Black community, which votes pretty much as a block, can tip the election our way."

Black politics 2003: Growing numbers, declining influence?  10/10/03 Final Call 

2004 Primary Dates  10/1/03 National Coalition on Black Civic Participation 

September,  2003

Group tries to increase minorities in politics  9/28/03 AP: "It's going to take black women pooling their resources -- time, spirit and above all, money -- to get voters to listen. That was the message Friday night at a fund-raiser trumpeting the first national political action committee aimed at getting black women elected to public office. "This is the first time African-American women can feel comfortable giving their money to a PAC and know their interests are being represented," said Cora Masters Barry, event chairwoman and wife of former Washington Mayor Marion Barry."

The Sisterhood, Taking On the Old Boy Network For Black Women, Sororities Are More About Politics Than Parties  9/27/03 Washington Post: "Do not be distracted by the pink-and-green sneakers. Oh, they're cute all right, especially on Diane Johnson, who also is sporting a lime green pantsuit. She is surrounded by about 100 women wearing variations of the color theme: hot pink, pale pink, bubble gum, sea green, olive, emerald. But the living bouquet posing on the steps of Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon is here for business. They're all members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest black sorority in the country. Once the group picture is taken, they spread into the offices of their senators and representatives, gently but firmly reminding them who they are (college-educated professionals), what they do (organize, network and raise lots of money) and what they care about (education, health, equal and civil rights)."

Democratic candidates vying for the black vote  9/26/03 AP: "For the first time in decades, the black vote — one of the strongholds of Louisiana's Democratic support — has fractured dramatically in the governor's race as the top four Democratic contenders struggle to capture the votes needed to make the November runoff."

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AT THE POLLS! Coalition of Civil Rights Groups Provide Assistance to California Voters  9/15/03 National Coalition on Black Civic Participation 

August,  2003

Republicans courting black vote for 2004  8/31/03 Black Vote 2004 

July,  2003

South's potential locked up  7/22/03 Chicago Sun Times: "In the past 30 years, Alabama's population has increased 30 percent, while its prison population has increased 600 percent. There are over 27,000 prisoners in Alabama today, with a prison budget totaling over $200 million a year. Over two-thirds of those prisoners are African-American. Four out of five prisoners (84 percent) committed nonviolent offenses. This jail-care policy has stripped 240,000 Alabama residents of the right to vote. Fourteen percent of the voting-age population of African Americans is disenfranchised. The drug war has replaced the poll tax as the way to keep African Americans from voting."

June,  2003

Latino Voter 'Si,' Black Voter, No?  6/23/03 Pacific News: by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

DNC recruits two blacks who worked for Clinton  6/20/03 Washington Times: "Two black appointees from the Clinton administration have been brought on board by the Democratic National Committee in an effort to quell dissent that arose after a plan to fire 10 black DNC staffers was made public in late May. Alexis Herman, who served as President Clinton's labor secretary from 1997 to 2000, will serve as a peacemaker between the DNC and the Congressional Black Caucus after caucus members were rankled by the planned terminations, a CBC source said. In addition, Ben Johnson, who ran President Clinton's Initiative for One America program, has been named a vice chairman of the DNC."

Black lawmakers set 'wake-up call' for Democrats  6/19/03 Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Georgia's black elected officials kick off a four-day meeting Thursday that is being called a "wake-up call" for a state Democratic Party that lost historic ground to the Republicans last year. The 700-member Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials' summer convention in Savannah will publicly focus on preserving the Voting Rights Act and increasing election-day participation by African-Americans."

Chaos in Dems Black and Brown Strategy By Dr. Ron Walters  6/14/03 Dogon Village News 

Black Vote No Sure Thing for Democrats  6/13/03 Pacific News: "Black leaders are reminding the Democrats that 80 to 90 percent of the black vote goes to Democrats, and now that Republicans are aggressively trying to improve their image with blacks, the Democrats cannot afford to take anything for granted."

Convention forms plan for black community  6/8/03 Baltimore Sun: "Developing and nurturing a unified black community in Anne Arundel County was the driving theme of the first convention of African-American leaders here in 30 years."

Local black leaders outline priorities at summit  6/8/03 The Capital, Annapolis, MD: "The county's African-American leaders yesterday vowed to increase their numbers in elected office and pledged to find ways to close lingering racial disparities in business, health care and education. During a day-long summit that organizers billed as the county's first African-American political convention in 30 years, activists from more than a dozen organizations said they would work aggressively to identify top-flight candidates for Annapolis City Council in 2005 and County Council and General Assembly in 2006."

DNC's layoffs undermine Dems' diversity rhetoric  6/6/03 Jewish World Review 

GOP wants cure for disparities in minorities' health  6/3/03 Gannett 

May,  2003

Demos Find 'Lots Of Work To Do' For Black Voters  5/30/03 NNPA: "In January, McAuliffe established a group of Black Democratic business owners to not only give financially to the party, but to influence its policies and issues that would help reach grassroots and young voters. The group, the African American Leadership Council (AALC), has in five months grown to more than 175 members, has raised more than $100,000, and is already putting fire under McAuliffe. "If we're going to win back the White House, there's got to be more energy, we need to be more focused. If we're going to win back the White House, what we're looking for is leadership," said Carole K. Crawford, a Chicago investment analyst who is a co-chair of the AALC. "We need to see our guy out there leading the charge. We've seen that over the last few weeks, but definitely need more." "

Northampton: Voter districts still unclear - Department of Justice refuses to approve latest redistricting plan  5/28/03 Delmarva, VA: "The U.S. Department of Justice has again denied Northampton County's voter redistricting plan, claiming the proposed realignment would result in a "retrogression of black voting strength." The county's most recent six-district plan had three districts with a majority of minority voters, but none had an African-American voting majority."

Will Maryland blacks/sp/flex political muscles?  5/27/03 Baltimore Sun: "The numbers are eye-popping. Blacks make up 27 percent of Maryland's population, the largest concentration outside the deep South. The city's black population hovers around 67 percent, while Prince George's County's is a tad higher at 70 percent. More to the point, the Maryland Court of Appeals, in its drastic reworking of the legislative map, awarded 80 percent of the city's [Baltimore's] political turf to blacks, who make up only 67 percent of the population. In the new world order, five of the city's six districts have black populations of 70 percent or more, while only one retains white representation in the Senate."

Local black leaders concerned with lack of representation  5/18/03 Herald Standard, PA: "This story is the first in a two-part series examining the role of blacks in local government and the election process.The Rev. Leonard A. Tucker Sr. says voter apathy in the black community contributed to his loss in the 1997 primary for a seat on the Uniontown Area School Board."

Democrats face GOP challenge in South  5/16/03 Mobile Register 

Special election in Pompano may undo redistricting  5/14/03 Sun Sentinel, FL: "With a new vote, commissioners hope to save their own seats from redistricting. They also want the mayor's election to proceed and think by changing the number of commission seats, that will happen. The mayor's vote was delayed after nine black residents sued the city, arguing that electing a mayor at large would be discriminatory because it is unlikely that voters citywide would elect a black as mayor. They also said that by eliminating one commission district, those remaining would become larger, and that would dilute the black vote, making it more difficult to elect a black."

Presidential hopeful Sharpton plans summer registration tours  5/9/03 AP: "Sharpton says he'll concentrate his efforts on black and Latino neighborhoods in the Northeast and South this summer. Then he'll start campaigning for the presidency after Labor Day. Sharpton says he'll seek to make people understand how voting can change their lives for the better."

$1 million pledge part of GOP effort to reach out to blacks  5/8/03 USA Today: "Republican congressional leaders are responding to concerns that they need to reach out to black voters by pledging today to provide $1 million in federal aid to renovate the home of 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Douglass was an adviser to Abraham Lincoln and one of the Republican Party's first black activists. Fixing his run-down home, a national historic site in Washington's overwhelmingly black and lower-income Anacostia section, is an attention-getting gesture that GOP leaders hope will lend symbolism to their efforts to reach out to African-Americans and attract their support in the elections in 2004."

Run Black or don't run at all  5/7/03 Black Comentator: "In the absence of real political parties, Americans have bought into the fiction that politics is all about the clash of individual personalities on scheduled election days. Black America is somewhat more sophisticated on this score, having been forced to seek change outside of the electoral system for most of the national history. Before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, much of the southern half of Black America was shut out of electoral politics, altogether, while northern urban city halls remained in white hands until the early Seventies. However, once the ballot became generally accessible, much of Black leadership shed generations of hard-earned organizing skills like old clothes, intent on dressing up for the "party" - namely, the Democratic Party. It was (and effectively remains) the only practical national venue, since the GOP was busy remaking itself into the White Man's Party, an eternal American institution. Over time, the recurrent cycles of content-devoid elections worked their hypnosis on people who should have known better, yet forgot that politics is about group empowerment, not individual horse races."

Black political leaders form own group after endorsement snub  5/3/03 Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "A group of black community activists and leaders said they are tired of being ignored and insulted by the powers-that-be, so they are forming an independent organization to harness the political power of blacks in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. To announce the formation of the Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly, the group gathered yesterday in a mock funeral service around a casket that represented black political apathy at Freedom Corner at Centre Avenue and Crawford Street in the Hill District."

Removing race from redistricting  5/2/03 Atlanta Business Chronicle: "Then the politically unexpected happened. Republicans discovered that creating supermajority black districts created, by default, supermajority white districts that were overwhelmingly Republican. For a moment in time, Cynthia McKinney and John Linder were singing the same song. And the underlying principle -- whether the Voting Rights Act should guarantee the right to vote or a specific outcome -- got lost in the posturing. And that's where we are now. In oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, the presumably conservative Bush Justice Department argued the McKinney line that the Voting Rights Act requires racial maximization and any "retrogression" is unlawful. Meanwhile, just as readily as Republicans discovered that racial packing helped their party, blacks have likewise uncovered racial packing's shortcomings. They're now more willing to spread minorities over more districts in hopes that blacks and whites will form winning Democratic coalitions."

Local View: Nevada: Where voting is a crime  5/1/03 Las Vegas Mercury: "Unfortunately, Nevada seems to want to punish ex-offenders forever. The advocacy group Demos gave Nevada an "F" grade in its 2002 report "Restoring Voting Rights to Citizens with Felony Convictions." Demos stated that Nevada "effectively takes away the vote for life from all citizens with felony convictions." Demos ranked Nevada with Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee. Those states' disenfranchisement laws date from the post-Civil War years when the Jim Crow structures of legal segregation were established. (Side note: Aren't these the same states that significantly underfund education, just like Nevada?)… Nevada's ex-felon voting laws shaft people of color. One in four African-Americans in Nevada older than 25 is a former felon. Many became felons with a little help from Nevada's systemic racial profiling, which was documented by the Legislature's recent study of traffic stop data. The study showed that African-Americans are stopped at twice their percentage of the general population and are more likely to be handcuffed, searched and arrested than whites (despite data showing whites are more likely to be carrying illegal items). The study also showed that Latinos are targets of racial profiling. Since Nevada goes out of its way to jail people of color, communities of color are being systematically silenced at the ballot box. Jim Crow would be proud."

Bad News for Democrats: Blacks Are Prospering  5/1/03 NewsMax: "Thank the GOP-led welfare reforms of 1996 for that. "Didn't that decline start when welfare reform was enacted?" David Almasi, director of Project 21, a conservative black think tank, asked the Times. "We reformed the welfare system, which so many people blamed for causing the chronic social problems of the black community. [Welfare] rewarded the splitting up of families." "

April,  2003

Women Power  4/28/03 In the Black: "Twenty-five years ago, a group of 13 women with an interest in making a difference in is the political impact of Black voters across the city joined forces. Some of them would ultimately hold political office; others would serve key roles in the underlying fabric of this city and state’s political workings. They organized as Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA)." Their phone is listed as (303) 388-4983.

African American Inroads for the GOP  4/27/03 Washington Post: by George Will - "Last year three African Americans running statewide for offices in the same state were all elected, something that had never happened before in any state, even during Reconstruction. The African Americans are Democrats, and the state is one of those proudly, reliably liberal ones -- Massachusetts, perhaps, or California, right? Wrong. The state is Texas, and all three winners are Republicans. Their successes suggest how Republicans might make modest progress with African American voters. Modest progress -- say, 15 percent rather than 8 percent of the African American vote -- could have large effects."

Minorities compete on political field  4/23/03 Houston Chronicle: "In Houston, the Hispanic proportion of the population grew from 27 percent in 1990 to 37 percent in 2000. The black proportion, meanwhile, shrank from 27 percent to 25 percent… "The future of black mayors in the Southwest will depend less on the size of different populations and more on their ability to put forth issues that appeal to a majority or plurality of voters," Jones said. That means black politicians must build their platforms on issues more than on racial politics, said Marilyn Murrell, president of the National Conference of Black Mayors… "It's more likely for a black to vote for a Hispanic than a Hispanic to vote for a black," Campos said. "There is resentment on both sides." "

Republicans struggle to connect with black voters  4/23/03 Knight Ridder: "So President Bush pitched in. He asked for $277 million in federal funding for historically black colleges and universities in his budget for the next fiscal year, a 5 percent increase over current funding. In addition, Republican senators and congressmen have been urged to hire African Americans. The Republican National Committee actively recruited black candidates around the country. And Republicans are using black-oriented media outlets to spread the party's message. "I've been on Capitol Hill more often since January than in the last 20 years," said Armstrong Williams, a conservative black commentator advising the party on outreach efforts. "The members have been wonderful to work with. They're making progress." Williams said his goals include seeing a significant number of black delegates at the Republican National Convention next year and 15 percent of the black vote going to President Bush. But on April 9 Wyoming Rep. Barbara Cubin went to the House floor to debate gun legislation - and with one phrase undermined the whole endeavor. "One amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug treatment," Cubin said. "So, does that mean if you go into a black community, you cannot sell a gun to any black person?" "

Black women finding politics an open door  4/22/03 Houston Chronicle: "There is a very significant growth in the number of black women being elected to office, and the increasing number of black women mayors is part of that trend," says David Bositis, a senior analyst for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank."

Lawmaker's words put Republicans back in hot seat  4/21/03 Charlotte Observer: "Republicans have done poorly with black voters, since 1964, when Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater opposed civil rights legislation. In the 2000 election, President Bush won 8 percent of the black vote, the lowest of any Republican presidential candidate since Goldwater."

Infighting divides minority leadership  4/21/03 Charlotte Observer, NC: "Members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Caucus elected two chairmen at two different meetings Sunday night, widening a rift that opened last month with former chairman Marqx Scott's resignation."

Shamelessness knows no bounds  4/20/03 Star-Telegram, TX: "DeLay's plan, which was being hatched in secrecy until uncovered last week, splits southeast Fort Worth into three congressional districts, placing the majority of black voters there in the minority in highly Republican districts. The 24th District, which Frost represents, is reconfigured to include large parts of Northeast Tarrant County and northwest Dallas County -- an area from which no Democrat stands a chance of being elected. Just as the plan dilutes the minority vote in Fort Worth, it concentrates that vote in Dallas by making the 30th district (represented by Eddie Bernice Johnson) 83 percent black. The fracturing of the minority vote on one hand, and packing it on the other, is nothing more than racial gerrymandering that should be considered an affront to the Justice Department and the Voting Rights Act."

Proposed Texas districts irk Democrats  4/17/03 AP: "It's very clear what Tom DeLay is trying to do. He is trying to eliminate five Democratic congressmen from office while at the same time not increasing the number of Hispanics and the numbers of blacks in office," Frost said Wednesday."

Black America's PAC Unveils 'New Website'  4/16/03 PRNewswire: "Black America's Political Action Committee recently announced several additions to their official website ("

Democrats court blacks in Omaha  4/15/03 Omaha World Herald: "Nebraska's Democratic Party, reeling from a series of losses in the 2002 election, turned to its base in Omaha's minority community Monday to begin rebuilding for next year's national election. The reaction from many Omaha black leaders was that it was about time the party began paying attention to them between elections."

Kendrick lands in County Council role today  4/15/03 Pittsburgh Tribune Review: "During the 1995 county commission race, he was among local black leaders who supported the Republican ticket of Larry Dunn and Bob Cranmer over Democrats Mike Dawida and Coleen Vuono. Dawida had angered many black Democratic voters by remarking in an interview that he and his running mate did not need the black vote to win the election."

Black voters turned out for election  4/15/03 The State, SC: "The numbers show nearly 285,000 blacks went to the polls in November, 3,000 more than in the 1998 election. Supporters say the turnout vindicates a computer-driven strategy that Democrat U.S. Rep Jim Clyburn calls "foolishness." Even with the 3,000 extra black voters, Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges lost a bid for a second term and Democrat Alex Sanders lost to Republican Lindsey Graham in the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond. "You can't say that Gov. Hodges and Alex Sanders lost because African-American turnout wasn't high enough because it was," said Will Drake, of Hoover, Ala. Using $3 million from the party, Drake and Jon Carson, of LaCrosse, Wis., used voter registration rolls to build a computer database of more than 300,000 South Carolina "weak-voting African-American Democrats." Some were called as many as five times and received mail urging them to go to the polls. The goal was to have a quarter of the vote come from African-Americans. The actual turnout was 25.4 percent, Drake said."

Indianapolis: Fewer black districts on map  4/14/03 Indy Star 

Flag issue splinters Democratic unity  4/13/03 Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Conservative white Democrats parted from black lawmakers on the high-profile state flag vote last week, splitting the black-white alliance that in recent decades has formed Democrats' power base in Georgia and other Southern states. "We asked a lot of our white Democratic colleagues if they could help us on the flag vote and they said, 'No, we've got to worry about the people back home,' " said state Rep. Barbara Mobley (D-Decatur). "We've looked it up, and a lot of them are in strong African-American districts."

"CELEBRATING THE DIVERSITY OF OUR DEMOCRACY" - THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2003  4/11/03 CBCP: "The recently released Census Bureau report that Hispanics have surpassed blacks as the nation's largest minority has received widespread media coverage. The Hispanic population growth was fueled by immigration and high birth rates. Mexican Americans represent 60% of the Hispanic population; Puerto Ricans are the second largest group at 10%. By contrast, the changing face of black America is an underreported phenomenon. According to a study by Prof. John Logan of the State University of New York, 25% of the growth of the black population between 1990 and 2000 was because of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. These immigrant populations, mostly Haitian and Jamaican, are growing at a faster rate than that of native-born blacks. In several urban areas, immigrants represent a significant share of the black population, including Fort Lauderdale (43.4%), Miami (34.4%) and New York (25.7%). In Washington, D.C., Jamaicans are the second largest immigrant group (Salvadorans compose the largest)."

Justice Department probing Teaneck election system  4/8/03 Newsday: "The U.S. Department of Justice has started a preliminary investigation to determine whether the town's present form nonpartisan elections has impeded black candidates from being elected to the Township Council and Board of Education… Several blacks have previously served on the council and the school board in recent years, but none currently serve on the council and the school board's one black member is not seeking re-election. Teaneck has more than 11,000 black residents, almost 30 percent of the population."

Plan for faster Detroit schools vote is no sinister plot  4/7/03 Detroit Free Press: "They were absolutely convinced the decision by Republican leaders in the Legislature to act on the accelerated election bill -- legislation sponsored by Democrats and most passionately championed by black, Detroit Democrats -- was a plot to suppress black Democratic turnout in Detroit in the 2004 election, which would help white Republican Bush."

Federal court to hear voting rights for ex-felons appeal  4/7/03 Miami Herald: "Lawyers for the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit public-interest law group based at New York University, are representing hundreds of thousands of ex-felons who want to be able to vote again - despite a 135-year-old Florida law that bans them. Gov. Jeb Bush's Republican administration staunchly opposes automatically restoring those rights. The legal case will pivot on whether a three-judge federal appellate panel believes that state law dating back to 1868 and amended a century later deliberately discriminates against ex-felons, especially African Americans, who form a disproportionate number of that group."

Blacks can change election scene  4/7/03 Milwaukee News: "How to get more blacks in Milwaukee to vote on election day. According to the city Election Commission, black turnout was barely 11% across the board last Tuesday, not exactly impressive. But just imagine, if members of the African-American Coalition for Empowerment - known as ACE - had managed to work out the kinks in their plan to allow black voters to use absentee ballots instead of actually showing up at the polls in person, things could be drastically different. Unfortunately, spoilsports managed to cast aspersions on ACE's novel attempt to use absentee ballots to ensure high voter turnout in the recall election of Lee Holloway."

Gore campaign manager wants to shake up Democratic politics  4/6/03 AP: "Long committed to bringing minorities and women into the Democratic Party, Brazile is no longer content with the conventional approach of persuading them to support white candidates. Her new tactic is to push minorities to make a symbolic run."

Black groups in Paterson seek to register 5,000 voters in April  4/5/03 North Jersey Record: "Thirty-five years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination ended his campaign for racial and economic justice, many African-Americans are barely using the most concrete of their hard-won rights. The older generation marched for the right to vote in the South and muscled their way into the political parties here half a century ago, but many of their children don't seem to understand the value of political participation. Several African-American groups, including the NAACP, fraternities, and Passaic County African-American Women 100 Plus, kicked off a voter registration drive Friday, the 35th anniversary of King's assassination."

Residents discuss splintered vote  4/4/03 Daily Breeze, Torrance, CA: “We saw an excellent example of divide and conquer,” William Williams said Thursday. “We all know 300 people and we think we could get 300 more people to vote for us. I was thinking of running myself.” Ten black candidates in a field of 16 ran for two seats in the March 4 election. More than 9,000 votes — nearly triple the number Elito Santarina garnered to win the race — were spread among the black candidates."

Black Republican Watts discusses race in politics, college admissions policies  4/4/03 Emory Wheel, Atlanta: "Former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) blasted the myth that the birthright of blacks is in the Democratic Party in a speech to 100 students Wednesday in White Hall. "Most black people don't think alike; they just vote alike," Watts said. "Blacks are very pro-life and supportive of school choice and tax relief. They agree with the Republican platform. Why is it that so many black people agree with Republican issues, but don't vote Republican?" "

Coggs credits broad coalition for African-American election victory  4/4/03 Milwaukee Times: "Rep. G. Spencer Coggs says the primary election victory Tuesday of an African-American in Milwaukee’s 18th state Assembly District was a combination of African-American voting strength, and white, Latino, and Hmong voters coalescing around Lena Taylor’s candidacy."

Mayor's three backers elected - Independents split majority of votes  4/3/03 Daily South Town: "Some of the independent candidates said the vote totals appeared suspicious based on their exit poll calculations. In precincts in the black community, the independents received few votes, according to their polls. While the candidates estimate that about 30 percent of voters showed up in most of the nine precincts, the two precincts in the black community received more than an 80 percent turnout. An official breakdown from Cook County was not available Wednesday. "We could not overcome the number that came out of the two black precincts," Misicka said. "Race had a lot to do with it. It's a cold, hard fact." "

DE . SEG . RE . GATING - As Milwaukee's population diversifies, metro area still ranks among nation's most segregated  4/3/03 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The gradual change in the city's racial makeup was one of the reasons why the African-American Coalition for Empowerment changed its emphasis from black empowerment alone to a strategy that embraces all ethnic groups, Winston said. With the city now a "majority-minority" city, with 55% of the residents members of some minority group, those minorities need to start thinking of themselves in a different light."

What's Happening - Voter Registration Drive  4/1/03 Tom Joyner: "Tom Joyner and Tavis Smiley organized a six-city on-the-road voter registration drive to increase the number of African Americans registered to vote and to stress the importance of participating in the electoral process. In order to attend the live broadcast remotes, featuring special musical guests, members of the audience had to be registered voters, or register to vote on-site. In St. Louis, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Dallas and Miami. Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner registered a total of 250,000 new African American voters."

March,  2003

Caribbean caucus formation sparks rift within Democratic party  3/29/03 South Florida Sun Sentinel: "A new Caribbean caucus made up of South Florida politicians, lobbyists and grassroots activists has won a special designation under the state Democratic Party, to the frustration and anger of the party's Black Caucus. The new caucus was formed to recruit Caribbean-Americans to the Democratic Party and to add political muscle to Caribbean issues. The hierarchy of the Black Caucus, however, says the new caucus will water down the power of blacks, who will be torn between which group to follow. We think this doesn't unify us as black people. Even though they are Caribbean, they are people of color," said Florida's Democratic Black Caucus President Dorothy Jackson of Miami… "They (Black Caucus) deal mainly with domestic and civil issues, which are all good," said Thomas Pinder, president of the new Caribbean group, and a Miami resident of Bahamian descent. "But when it comes to Caribbean issues, we are not on the priority list of the Democratic Party." At the top of the list is immigration. Caribbean-Americans, especially Haitians, have been struggling with asylum issues and prolonged detention when they reach United States soil. There are more than 300,000 non-Hispanic Caribbean-Americans in South Florida alone. A growing number of them are making bids for political offices locally and statewide. Blacks of Caribbean-American heritage are not always in lock-step with traditional African-American political issues."

NAACP aims to get blacks to polls  3/18/03 Cincinnati Inquirer: "The Cincinnati branch of the NAACP unveiled a two-year plan Monday to register more African-American voters and get them to the polls. NAACP leaders said the get-out-the-vote campaign would involve partnerships with churches, businesses and community volunteers to educate and register voters and even shuttle them to the polls in Cincinnati's predominantly black neighborhoods."

Voter ID options proposed  3/7/03 Clarion Ledger, Mississipi: "Black lawmakers railed against a voter identification amendment Thursday, likening it to the now-abolished poll tax while recounting their relatives' battles to vote."

Let's ID the problem before we ID the voter  3/7/03 Gulf Live, Mississipi: "The simple fact that the 67-51 House vote was split largely along racial lines with all but three black members voting against the bill and all but two white members voting for it smacks of the politics of our past. We can't afford to go back to the days of the old civil rights era, when black voters were often intimidated and kept away from the polls. Supporters of the voter ID bill say it is needed to halt voter fraud. They want to keep people from masquerading as others to cast ballots. Has there really been any real evidence of voter fraud in Mississippi in recent years?"

Steep Climb Lies Ahead For Sanchez  3/7/03 Tampa Tribune 

February,  2003

Mayoral incumbent lost due to split in black vote  2/28/03 Journal Times, Wisconsin: "Black voters proved decisive in this month's primary election for mayor, likely knocking incumbent Jim Smith from the contest, an analysis of election results shows. Voters in Racine's central city, which has the highest concentration of black residents in the city, split their support between Smith and challenger Ken Lumpkin. Smith, who was seeking his third term in office, carried the heart of the city in the Feb. 11 primary, but Lumpkin's grassroots campaign in predominantly black neighborhoods appeared to siphon support away from the mayor."

Urban League will honor Milliken for his fair play  2/24/03 Detroit News: "Before there was compassionate conservatism, there was William G. Milliken. As Michigan's longest serving governor (1969-82), this wealthy white Republican from Traverse City forged an unlikely alliance and close friendship with Coleman A. Young, the fiery black mayor from Detroit, and won the hearts and votes of thousands of African-Americans along the way."

Sharpton’s appearance at WKU brings diversity  2/23/03 Daily News, Kentucky 

Political leaders, experts consider power of black voters at the polls  2/23/03 Herald, SC 

Divide And Conquer - How Donna Brazille is attempting to weaken the Black vote  2/21/03 Black World Today: "First, she has refused to endorse moving the Washington, DC presidential primary to January 10th - a change that would make it the earliest Democratic primary in the country. Presently, the earliest primaries are held in predominantly white states (New Hampshire & Iowa), giving an important boost to Democratic presidential candidates who appeal to rural white voters. Moving Washington, DC to the front of the primary season would help presidential candidates who appeal to the African-American and urban populations… Secondly, Donna Brazille has been scheming over various plans to disenfranchise Rev. Al Sharpton and the populist grassroots voice he would bring to the Democratic contest for president. Ms. Brazille not only worries that a strong Black grassroots candidate might upset the status quo in the Democratic party, but is actually trying to find Black candidates who would run locally for president of the United States in an obvious attempt to weaken a strong Black vote - one that might catapult Rev. Sharpton and a strong Black agenda to the forefront of the Democratic presidential primary. Most recently, it has been reported that Brazille is trying to draft former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, an African- American woman, to run nationally in another attempt to fracture the Black vote."

Frustrated Democrat Makes Friends in G.O.P.  2/21/03 NYT: "Two years ago, Donna Brazile, then Al Gore's campaign manager, was engaged in daily combat with Karl Rove, then George W. Bush's top campaign strategist. Today, they chirpily exchange e-mail, chat on the phone and write letters, indulging in their shared zeal for the inner workings of politics."

Conspiracy Theory on 2nd Black Presidential Candidate  2/21/03 Washington Post: "In an interview last week, Donna Brazile, chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute, laughed off the conspiracy theories. She acknowledged she urged Moseley-Braun to run, but only because of her appeal as one of the few women to reach the Senate. Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, said Moseley-Braun would generate interest in the Democratic nomination among some women who otherwise might not vote. She said it was ridiculous for anyone to suggest the Democratic Party should have only one black candidate, given African Americans' loyalty to the party."

Referendum Could Polarize Black Vote  2/20/03 AP: "If Georgia holds a referendum on the state flag, many Blacks won't participate, civil rights leaders warned Wednesday. A group including the NAACP, Concerned Black Clergy and labor unions vowed to boycott a statewide vote on returning the Confederate battle cross to prominence on the state flag. Black leaders called it insulting to even ask blacks whether they wanted to see a return to the Georgia flag of 1956-2001, which is dominated by the rebel emblem."

African-American woman joins White House hopefuls  2/20/03 Guardian, UK: "Ms Moseley-Braun, 55, was elected to the US Senate in 1992 by Illinois, a key swing state. But she lost her campaign for a second term in 1998 after being accused of spending campaign funds on herself and her boyfriend, and because of her close ties with the Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. She then became ambassador to New Zealand."

Brazile fears loss of blacks to GOP  2/19/03 Washington Times: "Al Gore's presidential campaign manager yesterday said Democrats cannot take black voters for granted in 2004 and must stop attacking civil rights activist Al Sharpton because Republicans are making "inroads" into one of the party's most loyal voting blocs. Donna Brazile, a top minority voter outreach adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said Democrats must step up their efforts to court black voters, more of whom are registering as independents and Republicans… "In 2002, 63 percent of African-Americans were self-identified Democrats (down from 74 percent in 2000), 24 percent were self-identified Independents (up from 20 percent in 2000), and 10 percent were self-identified Republicans (up from 4 percent in 2000)," the Joint Center report said."

Bush Lost More Ground With Black Voters In '02  2/17/03 AP: Jeb Bush

Reenfranchisement - American justice allows people to return to society. Why can't they vote?  2/1/03 NAACP: "The "War on Drugs" has caused a disturbingly disproportionate number of African Americans-specifically African American men-to be convicted of felony offenses. Between 1985 and 1995, the number of African Americans incarcerated in state prison for drug offenses increased by 707%. Incarceration of whites rose 306% during the same period." While African Americans use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites.

January,  2003

Republicans Focus on Minority Outreach  1/27/03 Newsday: "Republicans know the campaign to win over minority voters is going to be a long-range and gradual project, but they also know the nation's changing demographic makeup gives them no choice."

Sharpton running for president  1/22/03 Washington Post 

White House Hopefuls Vie for Black Vote  1/20/03 Guardian, UK: "The black vote could be a critical factor in determining who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in early primary states like South Carolina and Michigan that have a high percentage of blacks among Democratic voters."

US DOJ Civil Rights Division FAQ on voting  1/15/03 USDOJ 

Fade to White  1/3/03 Washington Post: "The only African American Republican in Congress is headed home. Can the party of Lincoln -- and Trent Lott -- afford the loss of J.C. Watts? "

Kid's Page: Voting Rights  1/1/03 USDOJ 

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