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Beaver County Times: Voting mailers encourage minorities, unmarried women and millennials to register
By JD Prose
More than 2 million mailers, including almost 39,000 in Pennsylvania, from a nonprofit organization that encourages voter registration will be landing in mailboxes across the country on Wednesday.
According to the Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan Voter Participation Center, 2.2 million Americans in 23 states, and 38,600 Pennsylvanians, will receive the mailers. Specifically, the mailers will target a demographic segment called the Rising American Electorate (RAE), or people of color, millennials and unmarried women.
“More than 1.5 million people of color, unmarried women and millennials aren’t registered in Pennsylvania, which means they aren’t able to have their voices heard in our democracy,” Page Gardner, founder and president of the Voter Participation Center, said in a statement.
“The Rising American Electorate is 51.1 percent of the voting eligible population in Pennsylvania, so the electorate should be reflective of their strength in the population,” Gardner said. “The Voter Participation Center makes it possible for the voices of eligible African-Americans, Latinos, unmarried women and young voters to be heard at the voting booth in November.”
Kevin McAlister, the communications director for the Voter Participation Center, said the RAE group has traditionally been difficult to contact with voter information.
“By using mail, it’s a pretty effective way of reaching these groups,” he said.
McAlister said the mailers in Pennsylvania will contain a state voter registration postage paid form that can be filled out, detached and mailed to the Pennsylvania Department of State for processing.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for eligible people,” he said.
While people of color, millennials and unmarried women account for 51.1 percent of eligible voters (4.9 million), they’re just 48.5 percent of registered voters (3.35 million), equating to about 31 percent, or 1.5 million) being unregistered.
Of the entire RAE group in Pennsylvania, Latinos have the highest unregistered percentage at 37 percent, followed by millennials (34 percent), unmarried women (30 percent) and blacks (25.5 percent).
There will be more mailers going out to unregistered Pennsylvanians in the RAE demo and a digital program as well, McAlister said.
“Pennsylvania is one of our core states,” he said.
McAlister said his organization hopes not only to get RAE eligible voters registered, but encourage them to participate in the midterm elections. A Voter Participation Center study predicted that the drop-off from 2016 presidential election voters to this year’s mid-terms could be “particularly enormous in Pennsylvania,” he said.
The study showed that nearly 1.2 million Pennsylvanians in the RAE demographic who voted in 2016 will not vote this fall, compared to 770,000 voters in the state that fall outside of the RAE demo.
McAlister said that since 2004 the Voter Participation Center has registered nearly 4 million Americans, including 215,000 Pennsylvanians.
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