It’s Time to Get Out Her Vote!
The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Get Out Her Vote campaign (GOHV) is the nation’s only student-led voter education and registration initiative aimed at increasing young women’s voter participation. We have so much at stake at the polls – we are underrepresented at all levels of government, including campus student governments, and the policies we vote on will affect us and women around the world.
Most states’ voter registration deadlines for primary and general elections are a month before the scheduled election. Check out Rock the Vote (rockthevote.com) with questions and updates.
Why Her Vote Counts
The mobilization of progressive students has the potential to change the political landscape across the nation. In Virginia–a state once plagued by TRAP laws–the 2014 Attorney General’s race was decided by only eleven votes. As a result, the AG worked with the Governor to prevent the closure of numerous health clinics, thus protecting access to abortion.
Participating and voting in every election – federal, state, county and municipal – is incredibly important. Typically in off year nonpresidential elections, voter turnout is significantly lower. That means those elections are determined by much smaller margins of votes and your participation is even more impactful!
When women increase turnout, our voices become even more powerful. There are 49 million eligible young voters, outnumbering 45 million eligible seniors, 65+. Though young voters comprise of 21% of the eligible voting population in America, turnout has been consistently low. Among women, 18-24-year olds vote less than any other age group. But when we turnout to vote, we influence results! Young women and people of color have enormous rights at stake in every election.
WOMEN ARE UNDER-REPRESENTED
As result of the 2014 election, women now represent 20% of the Senate and 19.3 percent (or 84 members) of the House of Representatives. While women make up more than half of the US population, only 19.4% of Congress (104 women total). Of state legislatures, women make up only 24.5%. The numbers are clear– there’s still lot of work needed to increase women’s representation in Congress and at the state and local levels.
THE GENDER GAP
Increasing voter participation among young women has the power to transform politics. The measurable difference in the way women and men vote and view issues is called the gender gap. The gap can be quite significant and frequently (since 1980) has determined the outcome of elections. In 2012, women’s votes were decisive in reelecting President Obama and determining the outcomes of the equal marriage ballot measures. The gender gap is also intersectional. A very large portion of the gap is made up of African-American and Latina women, single women and women who self-identify as feminist. Gender gaps have also been decisive in many congressional and gubernatorial races since 1982.
YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
Feminist students need to register, vote, and run for government in record numbers. Under-representation begins in student governments, so run for office on your campus and GOHV in 2016!