'Freedom Summer II' could turn red states blue

Syndicated Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page writes a commentary on the Southern Elections Foundation's report, "True South", in a column that was picked up nationwide:

'Freedom Summer II' could turn red states blue
Chicago Tribune (syndicated)

...Much has changed for the better in the South and elsewhere. Dozens of blacks and other nonwhites from both parties have been elected to political offices for which they earlier would not have been allowed to cast votes.

Yet there has been some slippage in those voting numbers in recent years, say movement veterans who will be gathering at the "Freedom 50" conference with younger activists this month in Jackson, Miss.

A new report released in conjunction with the conference by the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning Washington, D.C.-based think tank, tallies how voter registration rates for minorities in the South still lag behind those of whites, even though there are more than enough unregistered nonwhites to shift the balance in many statewide elections.

"Registering just 30 percent of unregistered black voters would yield enough new voters to upset the balance of power in North Carolina and Virginia in a presidential or midterm election year," the report's author, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, now a senior fellow at the center, said in a telephone interview.

Read the full column at the Chicago Tribune.