November 6, 2020 — Voter turnout skyrocketed in 2020, with more than 100 million people voting early despite challenges created by the pandemic. As voting by mail became essential, the nonpartisan Voter Participation Center (VPC) and its partner, the Center for Voter Information (CVI), expanded their mail-based and digital programming to fill the voter engagement gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. VPC and CVI helped 1.6 million people register to vote this election cycle, and helped generate more than 4.6 million unique vote-by-mail ballot applications in key states. In their combined history, the organizations have helped more than 5.6 million people register to vote. They are the nation’s largest mail-based voter registration and engagement groups.
Nearly half of the registration and vote-by-mail responses VPC and CVI generated in 2020 were from key states, and the number of voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications the organizations generated make up a large portion of the deciding votes in the presidential election.
VPC and CVI’s President and CEO, Tom Lopach, released the following statement on the historic voter turnout, and importance of key demographics participating in democracy.
“Early this year when COVID-19 presented immediate challenges to in-person voter engagement, high voter turnout was not a given. In fact, some states saw voter registration rates plummet. Our expanded mail and digital voter engagement programming brought democracy to the doorsteps of tens of million of Americans. We successfully targeted citizens who have historically been underrepresented in elections — particularly Black and Latino voters, young people and unmarried women. These are the people who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s effects. In the face of this crisis, they made their voices heard at the ballot box.
“Voters faced a lot of confusion during the course of the year, whether it was caused by the pandemic or ongoing voter suppression efforts. Despite this, we saw an enormous response to our mail and digital outreach. Without these resources, many people would have been shut out of our democracy yet again. Voting on Election Day went smoothly in part because millions of people were able to vote early – either in person or by mail. We are grateful that millions of members of the Rising American Electorate took advantage of the information we provided and made history.”
The Voter Participation Center and Center for Voter Information are non-profit, non-partisan organizations founded in 2003 to help members of the Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, people of color and young people – register and vote. Since then, the organizations have helped more than 5.6 million people register and cast ballots.