COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As Election Day approaches, the NAACP announced its final push to get Black Americans to vote in record numbers. 

The NAACP is not telling people who to vote for — they just want people to vote.

The organization is targeting young people of color and marginalized communities. 20-year-old OSU student Kennedy Coker admits she has not voted before.

“I was just unaware,” she said. “I realized after the fact that I had a chance to vote.” 

Coker said this year will be different. 

“I tried to educate myself coming into this election,” she said.

Coker says she and her friend, Kayla Woodard, have already voted.

“People think we don’t know or don’t have an opinion about politics in our country, but that’s very untrue,” Woodard said.

The NAACP is pushing its “Black Voices Change Lives” campaign recruiting likely Black voters to urge low-frequency Black voters to vote.

“Every vote counts literally,” Coker said. “Your vote could be the one that changes something.” 

The organization also identified Ohio as one of 12 Black battleground states. 

For several months, organizers with the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP have been dedicated to getting out the Black vote. 

They have done things like ‘Shoptalk’ where volunteers go to barbershops, hair salons, and even restaurants to talk about voter rights and the voting process. 

The NAACP also has a social media campaign called ‘Take Back Tuesday’ featuring key stakeholders and community leaders.

For more than 100 years, the NAACP has been pushing for equal rights, access to voting and so much more. 

Annie Ross-Womack, the political action chair for the Columbus NAACP unit 3177, said they want this democracy to work for everyone, especially marginalized people. 

“It’s very important that we engage not only our African Americans, but our Brown people, Latinx, those people who are highly marginalized, talking about our youth and our senior citizens to make sure that they have not been disenfranchised,” said Ross-Womack. 

Woodard said voting would not be possible without resources provided by Ohio State.

“People, especially our age, don’t have the information and the ability, like driving here today.” 

The Ohio State University Office of Student Life is partnering with several organizations to transport students to the polls.
OSU is holding an event on Sunday, November 1, including transportation to the polls from 12 pm. to 5 p.m., voter education, food, music, and give-a-ways.
Students can sign up here.

In the 2016 presidential election, Black voters declined for the first time during a presidential election in 20 years, a statistic the NAACP wants trending in a positive direction moving forward.

“It’s all about voter suppression, voter rights, making sure people have their right to vote and their right to be heard,” Ross-Womack said. “This should be so simple. I mean we’ve already fought, and died, and bled for these rights to vote. This is nothing new.”