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When asked to sum up how they feel in our current political landscape, Black women voters offered one word above all others: “underrepresented.” It’s time for that to change, they added. (Credit: Higher Heights Leadership Fund)

Black women will be voting on Nov. 8 – but after that, they really want to see some changes.

This is according to a new study from Higher Heights, a national organization that seeks to inform and unify Black women voters. Its findings, released this week, offer a detailed look at the intentions, motivations and desires of this portion of the electorate. 

Nearly 80% of respondents to the survey described themselves as “highly motivated” to get to the polls next month – in large part because they believe in their “power … to make change on issues that matter most to their community” through voting, a release on the study stated.

Many of those issues are economic in nature – 33% cited rising housing costs as a pressing issue, and 29% pointed to inflation’s effects on the prices of everyday goods. But abortion access and gun violence also weighed heavy on the voters taking part in the poll.

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Overall, the study shows that “Black women understand the urgency of ‘now,’” Glynda Carr, president and CEO of Higher Heights, said in an online event announcing the study’s findings.

There were also numerous frustrations raised by respondents about the voting process in the U.S., as well as the officials currently holding office. Concerns over voter suppression loomed large in the minds of most. And while 59% of Black women polled feel more represented and considered in politics now than in the past, many say more progress is still needed. 

To get specific: More than 80% of participants said they want more Black women in positions of power going forward. And when tasked with providing one word to sum up the role of Black women in our current mainstream politics, the vast majority replied: “underrepresented.”

These insights are critical, Carr says, as the broader purpose of the study was to “amplify Black women’s voices in this democracy.” She added that they are America’s “most reliable voting bloc,” and she’s got a point – Black women have historically played critical roles in elections, both as voters and as organizers.

The research effort – done in collaboration between the Higher Heights’ Leadership Fund and polling firm Change Research – involved 715 Black women participants in all, who were asked about their voting plans and main issues of concern late last month.

And it’s only the start of a new, broader effort, as the announcement of these findings also served as a launch for #BlackWomenVote, an outreach campaign to galvanize more Black women voters into action. The site will provide “the latest election news, commentary and tools for Black women to prepare to vote, and get out the vote within their social networks,” it says.

Efforts such as these will “not only ensure that those vying for our votes look like us,” added Carr, “but that our growing power allows us to move this country to higher heights.”

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