Black History Month event focuses on importance of the African American vote


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It is an important election year, so Tuesday night at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, a Black History Month event focused on “African Americans and the Vote.”

The event highlighted new laws meant to make voting easier, and also marked milestone anniversaries for the black suffrage movement.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Aamendment, giving women the right to vote and the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, giving black men the right to vote.

Pennsylvania’s new voting laws under Act 77 were also highlighted: most voters can now vote by mail-in ballot, voters will have more time to register, and more time to return absentee or mail-in ballots.

Governor Tom Wolf said Pennsylvania is now one of the most progressive states for voters’ rights, while others said voter education is also paramount.

“Today is actually the first day that you can actually register to vote in Pennsylvania, we have 50 days [to vote in total] and you can vote by mail, you don’t have to go to a polling place, you can vote at your kitchen table, vote wherever you want,” Wolf said.

“It’s not just about registering people to vote, it’s also about teaching them who to vote for and also making plain the individuals that they’re voting for. Do they line up with your moral compass, do they line up with your moral imperative?” said director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Chad Lassiter.

Of course, the importance of voting extends well beyond the African American community. A reminder that Pennsylvania’s primary is April 28.

You can start registering now but you must be registered with a party — and not independent — in order to vote in a respective party’s Pennsylvania primary.

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