Respect My Vote! campaign launches in Georgia

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — With less than 90 days from the 2020 presidential election, one organization is working to mobilize young Americans to cast their ballots.

The Hip Hop Caucus kicked off its nonpartisan Respect My Vote! campaign to engage more young people of color to make their voices heard.

Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. says many Americans do not know how to exercise their right to vote or what the advantages are.

“For young people, so many things impact them in their lives, from education, from healthcare to climate change,” Yearwood said. “And their voice must be heard in this process.”

Respect My Vote! is an ongoing mission to reach and mobilize disenfranchised Americans to be more politically engaged.

“Either you shape policy, or unfortunately, policy will shape you,” Yearwood said. “So it’s important for us to make sure that particularly young people and people of color understand the importance of policy and what it means in their lives.”

They aim to reach 18- to 40-year-old voters of color with educational information that will drive them to register and cast their votes.

Yearwood says one of their goals for the campaign is to create leaders who will fight for equality, justice, and opportunity by engaging students on historically Black college or university campuses across the state.

“One thing we need right now is for everyone to show that they care about what’s going on and their concern,” Yearwood said. “And if you don’t vote, that’s a vote against being involved in the process.”

Respect My Vote! also reaches out to those with felony records to help them understand their voting rights through its Returning Citizens Voting Rights project.

Respect My Vote! organizers say the COVID-19 crisis presents unknowns for the election process. Yearwood says it’s important now more than ever to protect the integrity of elections and the communities’ voting rights. The organization is preparing rapid response strategies to prevent voter suppression.

“It’s very unfortunate as Americans that we would want to hinder anyone from voting,” Yearwood said. “So the fact that there are those who want to go out of their way to ensure that people don’t cast their vote is wrong. So we’re doing everything we can to educate them on where their polling place is and get them energized to get out there and vote.”

They say when our communities are armed with the facts, everyone can have a voice in our democracy and create change.

“It is about life or death,” Yearwood added. “So we need you to vote, to be engaged, and be a part of this amazing democracy we have in our country.”

Hip Hop Caucus is working to answer all questions regarding the upcoming election by providing this online tool.

Key dates for Georgians regarding the 2020 election:

  • Monday, Oct. 5: Last day to register
  • Monday, Oct. 12: Advanced in-person/early voting begins
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3: Election Day
  • *Request absentee ballots ASAP

You can register to vote using their online tool here and find out if you’re already registered to vote here.

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