On October 7, Joint Center President Spencer Overton participated in Howard University’s 2020-21 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy Lecture Series in a session entitled Seize Your Power: Your Voice, Your Vote. In the session, Spencer discussed voter suppression and how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Black voters. Other participants included Fair Fight Founder Stacey Abrams and Howard University President Wayne Frederick. Political Strategist Donna Brazile, who chairs this series, moderated the conversation.
During the conversation, Spencer discussed how social media was used to discourage Black people to vote.
“A Facebook page was started in January 2016. It claimed to be a page on Black culture and politics,” he said. “Closer to the elections, the Facebook page paid for and posted ads claiming things like, ‘We don’t have any other choice this time but to boycott the election. Don’t go vote.’ Investigations later revealed that the Facebook page was actually a fake page set up by a Russian internet agency.”
The Joint Center also hosted two conversations on voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic including with Fair Fight Founder Stacey Abrams and with Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH). The Joint Center also published Protect Our Democracy, a report urging Members of Congress to ensure all Black votes are counted by including support towards voting in the next stimulus package.