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Black leaders launch voter registration, education efforts

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Leaders of St. Louis' African-American community are planning an ambitious voter outreach project before November's general election.

The Call to Oneness campaign ultimately wants to double the number of African-American voters locally who cast ballots in the presidential election. It's launching a series of voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote rallies to accomplish that goal.

A Call to Oneness co-founder Eric Rhone said the campaign may duplicate efforts by other organizations, but has one key difference -- "the 10,000 volunteers that we're going to put on the streets, in the neighborhoods, going house to house, block to bloc, precinct to precinct, neighborhood to neighborhood, to ensure people come out to vote," he said.

Large voter registration drives in other cities have come under scrutiny for fraudulent or duplicate cards. A Call to Oneness has worked with the Secretary of State and the city's Board of Elections to make sure that doesn't happen here, Rhone said.

The city's Democratic director of elections says she has received a phone call from a group that is part of A Call to Oneness.

The group by law must be nonpartisan. It's focusing its efforts in North St. Louis city and county, which Rhone said will probably help Democrats. But it's up to the presidential campaigns to get each vote, he said.

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