More than 5.6 million people who can vote in Florida are not registered; most of them are communities of color, unmarried women, and young people.
230 million Americans were eligible to vote in the 2016 elections, but only 138 million voted; this is known as the voter turnout, the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. Every citizen in the United States who is at least 18 years of age is eligible to vote. However, people are not participating in democracy.
Among the reasons that have influenced voter turnout is that in most states to cast a vote, you need to register beforehand. Many Americans aren’t aware of that. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia permit some form of same-day registration. In all other states, including Florida, you must register before election day.
Another aspect to consider is that communities of color and other marginalized groups, mostly for historical and cultural reasons, face restrictions, or unnecessary challenges in exercising their right to vote. Even though the overall voting rate has increased among these groups, voter turnout in elections remains unequal, with white Americans out-participating people of color, low-income people, and young people by significant-to-wide margins.
To address this situation, organizations like the Voter Participation Center (VPC) help members of the Rising American Electorate (RAE)—unmarried women, communities of color, and young people—to register and vote
“The organization has helped 4.5 million people register and cast ballots. The RAE is 64% of the voting-eligible population. We work to close that gap and ensure that underrepresented groups participate in our democracy,” said VPC’s founder and board chair, Page Gardner.
VPC runs the largest mail-based voter registration program in the nation and is on its way to registering more than one million voters this election cycle. To do that, it is increasing both mail and digital voter registration and GOTV programs to address the needs during this moment of crisis due to Coronavirus.
“In April, we mailed over 12 million voter registration applications to nine million people across 20 states to register more voters. Just in Florida, more than 5.6 million people who can vote are not yet registered, and 71% of them are members of the Rising American Electorate,” added Gardner.
This month, VPC is connecting with over three million Floridians by mail as a part of the organization’s largest ever campaign to encourage eligible residents to register to vote. “Our mail and digital programs in Florida have been incredibly successful and have led to the registration of 613,582 Floridians,” she concluded.
Registration deadline for Florida’s primary election, either online or in-person, is July 20. You can register by going online at voterparticipation.org or by filling out and returning the mail-based official registration application sent to your address.
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