The Voter Participation Center conducts programs that are designed to boost the registration, turnout, issue awareness and civic involvement of the Rising American Electorate (RAE). The RAE is made up of unmarried women (women who are single, widowed, divorced or separated), people of color and young people who combined comprise 53.5% of the voting-eligible population. They are responsible for almost all of the U.S. population growth in recent years, but were only 48% of the electorate in 2012 and 45% in 2014.
Because unmarried women make up such a large portion of the RAE and marital status is a top determinant of whether or not one registers, votes, and participates, unmarried women continue to be a unique focus of the VPC’s efforts. Increasing the participation of RAE members begins with registration–and the recognition that outreach must take place regularly and not just during high-profile presidential campaign years.
The massive size of the RAE–and the fact that these are the demographic groups most likely to be unregistered, highly mobile and politically disengaged–demands a new, persistent and continuous approach to increasing their civic engagement.
The VPC has a number of research-based, proven and cost-effective registration, turnout and advocacy programs all of which are measured for their impact and effect. The VPC understands and can prove what works, what doesn’t, and how much it costs. Because of this strategic R&D approach, the VPC is unique in its ability to reach and mobilize the RAE through a variety of scalable programs that are complementary to other outreach efforts.
The long-term goal of the VPC is to ensure that the RAE is no longer underrepresented in the electorate and that their voices are heard in numbers proportionate to their strength in the population. To do this, registering and voting must be made easier and the RAE’s information levels and civic engagement must be increased. The desired outcome is to create an infrastructure of engaged citizens who vote, speak out, and elect representatives who represent their values. The work of the VPC does not end with Election Day, but is just beginning.