Black voters could end up making the difference in the outcome of several controversial ballot initiatives in Maryland on Nov.6 if they turn out in the numbers expected in support of President Barack Obama.
According to the Baltimore Sun
, black voters now make up at least a quarter of Maryland's electorate and opponents and supporters of initiatives on gay marriage, casino gambling, and in-state college tuition rates for illegal immigrants are targeting the demographic heavily with both advertising and grassroots campaigning.
"There is a unique draw on the ticket that will bring African-Americans out, and if you are in the strategy business in Maryland politics, you have to account for that," Mike Morrill, a veteran Democratic strategist, told the Sun.
"In any election in Maryland, you have to pay attention to the African-American community," Morrill said. "In this particular election, it is extraordinarily important."
According to the Sun, the Nov. 6 ballot will have a total of seven questions for voters in addition to the presidential and congressional races. But the most controversial questions — gay marriage, gambling, and in-state tuition rates for some illegal immigrants — are the biggest focus of various campaign groups, and even ministers, who have been preaching from the pulpit in an effort to influence black voters.
Morgan State University student Samantha Master told the Sun that it's hard for black voters getting ready to head for the polls in two weeks not to notice all the attention.
"The campaigns are speaking to African-Americans," she said. "With the language they are using, they are attempting to speak to us."
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