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Black voting advocate group is running newspaper ads to encourage voter participation


With Election Day looming, a Black voting advocacy group is running advertisements in some of the state’s biggest Black newspapers to get the word out that it’s time for people to plan to get to the polls.

Members of the Orlando-based Equal Ground Education Fund say that that one of their primary goals as an organization is to increase Black voter turnout, and they say that there’s no better platform to access members of their community than through local newspapers that are often found in churches, barbershops and community centers.

“We thought that we needed to take out some ads and encourage our Black community members that this is a very pivotal time in Florida, and that they need to do all that they can to be a part of the democratic process,” says Pastor Marcus McCoy Jr., the faith-based director for Equal Ground Education/Action Fund.

Equal Ground Education Fund is one of the voting rights groups that filed a lawsuit against the state earlier this year after the Florida Legislature approved a new congressional redistricting map that effectively eliminated two minority voting congressional districts – the North Florida seat that has been held for the past six years by Tallahassee Democrat Al Lawson, and the Orlando-area seat that is now being vacated by Val Demings, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

While that litigation goes forward, McCoy Jr. says that Equal Found Education Fund has partnered this year with other voting rights organization on a “redistricting tour” to churches and community centers throughout Florida to inform members of the public about the voting changes. “We’re disheartened that something like this has happened, but we are encouraged by the community support that have come to these redistricting committee sessions that we’ve been having and the feedback that we’ve been getting,” he says.

The ads are running in 13 Black community newspapers, include the Florida Sentinel Bulletin in Tampa, the Florida Star in Jacksonville and the Westside Gazette in Fort Lauderdale.

As of Monday morning, more than 2.7 million Floridians have already cast a ballot either through the mail or by visiting an early voting location, according to the Division of Elections website.



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