Although voters across the country came out in record numbers during the intense and historic Democratic presidential primaries, there are still eight million unregistered African American voters, according to Rick Wade who is the African American Vote Director for the Obama campaign.

“Our principle focus has been a 50-state voter registration initiative,” said Wade to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, also know as the Black Press of America.

Wade added, “I think we all appreciate that if we increase the number of African American registered voters and then increase turnout and get people to the polls on Nov. 4, then Sen. Obama will be the next president of the United States.”

The eight million unregistered African American voters accounts for 32 percent of the eligible Black voting electorate nationwide, said Wade.

Wade pointed out that in 2004, African Americans made up approximately 11 percent of the overall vote across the U.S.

“If the percentage of African Americans was a mere two-and-a-half percent higher at 13-and-a-half percent, Democrats would currently be running for re-election at this time,” said Wade.

Wade recalled Ohio in 2004, when Democrats lost by two percent or 100,000 votes in a state that had 270,000 unregistered African Americans. Wade explains how the Ohio experience demonstrates that the African American vote can make an impact in one state and across the country.

“So the African American vote can absolutely make the difference in this election,” he said.

Melanie Campbell, executive director of the non-partisan National Coalition on Black Civic Participation said to NNPA that with all the work being done on voter outreach this time around, voter registration today is being implemented on a whole new playing field.

Campbell said because of the intensity surrounding voter registration efforts, there’s great potential to increase voter outreach, especially due to high energy in voter education drives and addressing the issues important to the Black community.

“The potential is that you will create a whole new expanded electorate,” said Campbell, something she and her group have been working on for many years. Campbell said traditionally, there have been about 15 million people not voting in the general election.

“So, this has the potential for that number to go down tremendously, and if the trend continues, because it’s so competitive, it’s going to drive the turn out and that’s going to be across all demographics,” said Campbell.

Campbell added that when people take their vote seriously that it ultimately affects all elections weather on a local or national level.

“There’s elections from the school board to the presidency that impacts your life,” she said. “We know the presidency is a big deal. But, it is one of many elections that’s taking place on Nov. 4.”

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