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Energizing the Black LGBTQ+ Vote in Swing State Michigan

Photo by Ahshea1 Media from Pexels

An LGBTQ+ center in Detroit is working to combat voter suppression in a state Trump narrowly won in 2016.

Detroit's preeminent service provider for Black LGBTQ+ residents recently won a grant from the American Civil Liberties Union to help galvanize voters ahead of the November election, PrideSource reports.

LGBT Detroit, an organization operating for nearly two decades, was awarded the grant from ACLU Michigan "to help eliminate a range of enduring racial, gender and sexual minority disparities persisting in civic participation throughout Southeast Michigan."

The money -- the amount of which wasn't disclosed by PrideSource -- will supplement traditional "get out the vote" efforts like door-knocking and street canvassing. The additional resources are especially useful this year as organizations like LGBT Detroit try to increase voter registration and engagment in the middle of a pandemic.

"With these additional resources, we'll be able to use state-of-the-art technology in voter engagement software, stage online community mobilization events, and host several aggressive virtual campaign strategies that meet Michigan residents where they are," Jerron Totten, LGBT Detroit's social outreach coordinator and the legislative advocacy specialist and field director for the group's election initiative, PRIDE Decides 2020, told PrideSource.

Michigan is seen as a critical state for both President Trump and the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Usually a blue state in past election cycles, Michigan narrowly went Republican in the presidential election of 2016. Trump is working to suppress voting by limiting mail-in ballot options and weakening the U.S. Postal Service. All Michigan voters are allowed to utilize mail-in, or absentee, voting without providing a reason why they want or need it.

LGBT Detroit has also expended resources on encouraging queer Michiganders to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census, which will determine the amount of federal resources and congressional representation each state receives.

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