DENVER – The number of African Americans voting in Colorado during the 2016 election was significantly lower than the numbers who voted in 2008 and 2012. The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition says they think they’re close to figuring out why.
“What we have found specifically to the African American community in Denver and metro wide is there are not organizations out there that are actually resourced and have the infrastructure to really do concentrated efforts for black communities as far as getting out the vote and voter registration drives,” deputy director Juston Cooper told Anne Trujillo on this week’s Politics Unplugged.
Cooper and community outreach coordinator Alex Landau say the lack of targeted efforts led to a 50 percent non-turnout of the African American vote in 2016. They are digging into the reasons why voters stayed away from the polls with two new surveys. One for those who did vote to find out why they went to the polls and one for those who did not to find out what kept them away.
“Part of our hypothesis and part of what we are seeing as we are going through this process and reading through these surveys is that there has been a lack of actual relationships that have been built in communities that have been marginalized by the criminal justice system, communities that are subjected to conditions of poverty,” Landau said. “What we’re trying to understand is what if anything could have been done differently to increase black voter turnout in upcoming elections, future elections and what is that civic engagement component required to have a substantive impact.”
CCJRC hopes to get 500 surveys completed by the end of the month and have made it available online for people to complete and submit.
Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30am & 4pm on Denver7.