Can Social Media Help NAACP Bring Back the Miniority Vote?

By Kenna McHugh Comment

During the NAACP 102nd annual national convention in Los Angeles, the civil rights group proposed a big push to increase minority turnout in the 2012 election. The purpose of the campaign is to gain political influence in various states that are denying minorities the right to vote through photo ID requirements. Social media was one the key choices in reaching out to minorities and educating them on the importance of taking the steps to make sure their vote is counted in the 2012 elections.

The concept of the campaign is to reach out to various community groups like churches, fraternities and sororities while using sophisticated databases, boost training of volunteers and channeling the message through social media. The intent is to contact each minority who can vote, make sure they are registered and have the proper ID, so their vote can be counted.

According to NAACP members, after a record 92 percent black turnout in the 2008 presidential election, in 2010, 15 million blacks did not vote. That includes 3 million who were registered. The grim picture is that low-income minority voters are being disenfranchised by new laws in many states that require a proper photo ID. To obtain a photo ID, in some states, applicants are required to have at least two forms of identifications, plus proof of residency.

Education and help in the process of registering voters is the key to a high minority turn out in 2012. That is where social media comes into play. Each state has a website that instructs the proper procedure in obtaining a photo ID. Minority groups can use Facebook, Twitter and local NAACP websites linking to appropriate platforms to definitely get the message out to minorities.

An interesting study was done by Georgetown University comparing the application and results of social media with white users, Hispanic and African Americans. The study was performed to find out which group was more likely to use social media to learn about and become involved in social issues. When each group was asked if they felt more likely to support a cause or social issue online than offline, the percentage of positive responses from white users was approximately one-fourth. African-American users answered “more likely” nearly one-third of the time, while Hispanic users were 39 percent more likely to support a social issue or cause online.

The report called Social Media Plays Greater Role in Cause Engagement For African Americans and Hispanics state these findings:

-58% of African Americans and 51% of Hispanics (vs. 34% of Caucasians) believe they can help disseminate information on social issues through social networking. They also believe that Facebook makes it easier to support causes.

-31% of African Americans and 27% of Hispanics are more likely to rely on social media as another source of information (vs. 21% of Caucasians).

– Hispanics are more likely to believe that everyone likes causes on Facebook.

– Hispanics and Caucasians believe they receive too many emails, but African Americans don’t.

-African Americans and Hispanics are far more likely to believe that supporting causes makes them a part of their communities.

-Hispanics (55%) and African Americans (54%) are more likely to believe it’s important that their families become involved in causes.

The social media findings are insightful for NAACP’s goal to raise awareness and gather support for social issues that affect minority communities. The only hurdle that I can foresee is the lack of proper connection to the social media platforms in order to channel the importance of voting.