This week, as the deadline for new voter registration ended, they had exceed that goal by 1,150 people.

When reached for comment, AAVREP’s founder Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “Eight years ago, a group of concerned religious, business, labor and community leaders came together to address the issues surrounding African American voter empowerment and participation. The goals were to expand African American political representation and engage Black voters by offering compelling, relevant information that moved them to the polls. The first step in that process is registering people to vote.

“The historic levels at which African Americans participated in the election of President Obama is proof positive that they have the ability to not only influence the outcome of an election but to determine the end result.”

To date, AAVREP has registered 135,000 voters throughout Los Angeles County. The organization’s general election campaign has the goal of moving African Americans to the polls at the level reached in the 2008 general election when, in California, Blacks as a whole, turned out at a higher rate than the state’s overall electorate (65.2 percent vs. 63.4 percent).

According to Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU-ULTCW (Service Employees International Union-United Long Term Care Workers), who is co-chairing AAVREP’s November efforts, this goal is within reach again.

“In 2008, African American’s were motivated to make history by electing the first African American president,” said Butler. “This year we have the same opportunity in California to elect the first African American and the first female attorney general. For communities ravaged by crime and impacted by predatory lending practices; and, for individuals being denied worker protections, the person sitting in the attorney general’s seat must be someone who understands the needs of African Americans and other people of color. In my view, that person is Kamala Harris.”

Harris, currently the district attorney for San Francisco, is one of the two principle candidates upon which AAVREP’s November campaign is centered. The other is current Attorney General Jerry Brown who is vying for governor.

In addition to voter registration, AAVREP’s fall campaign includes direct mail to permanent vote-by-mail and “Obama” voters who first became active in 2008.

AAVREP has also mounted a radio, print and e-mail campaign combined with grassroots outreach to churches, barbershops and beauty shops to “meet voters where they are.”

The organization also noted that voters wishing to register as permanent absentees may do so by downloading an application at http://www.lavote.net

Vote by mail applications must be received by Oct. 26.

Article courtesy of AAVREP.

DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of Our Weekly.