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Over 1 Million Registered

Article Editor: Christopher Laird Simmons

After registering a historic number of new voters, Black groups assemble to reaffirm their commitment to Unity '04

WASHINGTON, DC - October 8, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- As election officials across the country scurry to process the massive number of voter registration forms submitted for the 2004 election cycle, the Unity '04 Coalition (www.unity04.net) assembled in the nation's capital on Wednesday to celebrate registering over one million voters collectively and reaffirm their commitment to working together to turnout Black voters in record numbers and make sure each vote gets counted on Election Day.

Held at the historic National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), the nonpartisan Unity '04 Voter Empowerment Campaign's "Protect Our Power Briefing" enabled members of the 160 group coalition to release the final number of voters registered nationally and discuss what each group will do to turnout and protect voters at the polls on November 2.

With many of the registration drives lasting less than two months the numbers give reason to boast - Tom Joyner Morning Show, 40,000, BET 60,000, UniverSoul Circus, 70,000, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation/National Urban League affiliate sites weighed in at over 100,000, the NAACP Voter Fund/NAACP registered a whopping 225,000 new registrants and the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Presidents, an organization that unites nine Greek fraternities and sororities, topped it off with close to a half million new registrants.

Dr. Dorothy Height, president emeritus, NCNW, challenged the group to gear up for the next phase. "It's great to get people registered to vote, but we still have to get our people to the polls and make sure their votes get counted," Height said.

Bill Lucy, president, CBTU, added, "We are committed to working together through Unity '04 to get these new voters to the polls and to push our issues to the forefront."

Turning registrants into voters is a valid concern since, according to the US Census Bureau, in 2000 nearly 45% of the registered Black voters did not vote. Additionally, this is the first general election since the passing of the Helping America Vote Act (HAVA) and many voting rights activists anticipate problems with the new voting equipment.

As protecting voters' rights is critical this year, Unity '04 has put a significant emphasis on educating voters on their rights at the polls. In addition to distributing state specific Voters' Bill of Rights, Unity '04 will provide a voter intimidation hotline, 1-866-OUR VOTE, that offers same day legal assistance for people who experience problems at the polls or can not locate their polling place.

"We're determined to make sure that voters are prepared for any problems that occur on Election Day," said Melanie L. Campbell, executive director of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, convener of the Unity '04 Campaign. "On October 31 we are having a Protect Our Vote and Our Voice Sunday. Dr. Height and Dr. Joseph Lowery called for ministers across the country to focus the Black community on the importance of voting, and knowing what their rights are at the polls.

Other events include a Black College Tour with BET, and, on Election eve, Unity '04 will present the family voting rights saga "Our Time Has Come," at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Unity '04 is training poll workers, deploying volunteers to canvass neighborhoods, and conducting a targeted media campaign. They will also call voters to make sure they verify that they are registered and check for their polling place in advance.

Convened by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the Unity '04 Campaign is a determined to increase Black voter turnout and make sure each vote is counted. Participating organizations include, the National Urban League, 100 Black Men of America, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Black Leadership Forum, National Education Association Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, and NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The organization is recruiting volunteers. For more information visit www.unity04.net or call 202.659.4929.



• Previous Articles about National Coalition on Black Civic Participation



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