TIM STEVENS, chairman and CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project, speaks during a news conference in the Hill District, Oct. 11. (Photo by Rob Taylor Jr.)
‘We don’t want anyone forgetting that this election is a key election’
Chances are, you voted in last year’s presidential election, in which Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the critical state of Pennsylvania. If you voted for Biden, it proved that “every vote counts,” as Biden is now president.
But just because this Nov. 2 isn’t a presidential election year doesn’t mean you get to slack off, sit back and watch another rerun of “Sanford and Son.”
“We don’t want anyone forgetting that this election is a key election,” voiced a demonstrative Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project, during a news conference in the Hill District, Oct. 11. Once again, his organization is canvassing Pittsburgh’s Black communities with yard signs and an overall message that the Black vote is imperative in this area.
THE B-PEP BANNER shown above will be placed on a number of Port Authority buses, urging people to vote in the Nov. 2 election. (Photo by Rob Taylor Jr.)
“Right now we have the opportunity to elect a new mayor, whoever that will be for the City of Pittsburgh,” Stevens said, flanked by B-PEP members and community supporters. “We have school board races, we have judicial races…”
State Rep. Ed Gainey is the Democratic mayoral nominee, who has a good chance of winning the mayoral election in a city that is dominated by Democrats. His win would also mark the first time an African American is mayor of Pittsburgh. Representative Gainey’s opponent, Tony Moreno, was a registered Democrat who was defeated in the Democratic primary by Rep. Gainey in May, but switched to run on the Republican ticket when voting bylaws afforded him the opportunity to do so.
“We have a historic moment in Pittsburgh,” Stevens remarked. “People will choose if they want to elect the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh. It’s a historic moment. People need to choose between the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate and make a choice.”
B-PEP cannot openly support a political candidate, but when it comes to getting the word out for Blacks to vote, they’re unabashedly supportive of Pittsburgh’s African Americans.
“We want to empower our community in any way we can, because again, we cannot be sleep,” Stevens said. “We want to make voter registration fun. We want to make voting fun.”
Those wishing to send in a mail-in ballot must first submit an application to the Allegheny County Elections Division for a mail-in ballot by Oct. 26. Once your mail-in ballot is received via the mail, it must be returned by Election Day, Nov. 2. It’s recommended that all completed mail-in ballots are sent through the mail at least four days prior to Election Day to ensure that it is received by the Elections Office in time.
FAITH MUDD, right, and Kim Mudd hold the posters and yard signs that are being circulated in Black communities across Pittsburgh. (Photo by Rob Taylor Jr.)
Of course, there’s always the option to vote on Election Day in person at your usual polling location, of which there are more than 1,000 locations in Allegheny County.
“The fight for civil and human rights and political rights is far from over,” Stevens said. “Anyone who does not vote, you’re contributing to disempowering our community. What if all those who are disabled, all of us of color, all of the young people, all those groups who are marginalized in so many ways…what if they all came out to vote in each and every election? We would be able to put people in, take people out, who do not meet our demands, who do not meet our expectations, our needs and aspirations and concerns.”
B-PEP also said that it provides rides for those who wish to vote at polling locations but don’t have transportation. Lorraine Cross, with B-PEP, said that those wishing to be drivers on Election Day can call 412-212-8775.
For more information on voting in Allegheny County, visit alleghenyvotes.com or call 412-350-4550.