Pew Charitable Trust and the Virginia Department of Elections teamed up to help make “decisions related to election administration more transparent and evidence-based.”
Their early results are in, and they are encouraging..
James Alcorn, chairman of the State Board of Elections, thinks this project will be an important resource for election officials and the public. “All too often, discussions about election administration turn on anecdotes because objective evidence wasn’t easily available. This tool turns the hard data that the Department of Elections collects into accessible, objective information that can be used to improve elections across the commonwealth,” he says.
As a recent editorial in the New York Times highlights, while some states are taking advantage of the Shelby decision to prevent Americans from voting, several states are working to expand the franchise and protect citizens’ voting rights.
Oregon, in particular, is blazing the path forward with its adoption of automatic voter registration at the DMV. Liz Kennedy at Center for American Progress writes: “The millions of eligible citizens who are missing from America’s voter rolls can be placed on those rolls in a cost-effective and secure manner. States can and must remove barriers and facilitate political participation for all eligible voters so that every voice is heard as our nation charts the course forward together.”
Read the full story.
Indiana’s standalone primary on May 3 has emerged as a must-win for Republican Ted Cruz. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton come into the state with momentum from their multi-state wins last Tuesday. There are 57 delegates at stake in Indiana’s GOP primary, and 92 in the Democratic primary. The Rising American Electorate (RAE)—the unmarried women, people of color, and millennials who make up 57% of eligible voters nationally—make up only 46% of Indiana’s voting-eligible population. Unmarried women make up the largest percentage of the RAE in Indiana. Learn more about their lives.
At The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein and Leah Askarinam have crunched the numbers on 22 state exit polls to find that presidential primary candidates’ demographic appeals have remained remarkably consistent since the voting began in February. In other words: throughout this contest, a state’s demographic makeup—race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status—has been the major factor in determining which of the Republican and Democratic primary candidates will win there.
Read the article.
The five presidential primaries next Tuesday are all on the east coast—Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. These primaries could mark the end of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign and move the Republicans closer to a contested convention.
Here’s what’s at stake:
- Connecticut: 70 Democratic delegates (awarded proportionally); 28 Republican (awarded proportionallyif no candidate gets >50%, winner-take-all if one candidate does)
The Rising American Electorate—unmarried women, people of color, and millennials—make up the majority of voters in Maryland (56%) and Delaware (56%) and close to half the electorate in the other primary states (49% in Connecticut, 47% in Pennsylvania, and 48% in Rhode Island).
Forty percent of the eligible voters in Maryland are people of color (40%), the largest share of any state voting on Tuesday. 30% of MD’s eligible voters are African Americans—and the participation of these voters could decide the tightly-contested Democratic primary race for the open U.S. Senate seat between Representatives Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards. According to Washington Post polling, voters are split along racial lines between Van Hollen, a white man, and Edwards, an African-American woman. The Post poll shows that Edwards has a 51-point lead among African-American women.
Here’s a great data visualization from Bloomberg Politics about the things that are keeping people from voting—including problems with access to the polls, voter registration, vote suppression, and the lack of absentee options. In 2012, only 57% of voting-age Americans cast a ballot… find out how many lost voters there are in your state.
On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the largest number of states will hold primaries or caucuses. Super Tuesday states this year include: Alabama, Alaska (Republican caucuses), Arkansas, Colorado (caucuses), Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota (caucuses), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming (Republican caucuses).
In most presidential years, Super Tuesday is a turning point, serving as a major indicator of who the nominees will be from each party. It is the biggest single-day opportunity for presidential candidates to receive delegates.
What’s at stake? In all, 595 Republican delegates—a little less than half of the 1,237 delegates required to win the GOP nomination—will be available on Super Tuesday. On the Democratic side, about 1,004 delegates will be available on March 1, out of the 2,383 delegates a candidate will need to win the nomination.
The participation of the Rising American Electorate (RAE)—unmarried women, people of color and millennials—has the potential to dramatically affect outcomes in several states where they make up a large percentage of eligible voters:
- In Texas, GOP candidate Senator Ted Cruz’s home state, the RAE makes up 66% of eligible voters, but as of November 2014 only 52% of the RAE were registered to vote. 46% of the eligible voters in Texas are people of color; 29% are 35 or younger.
- In Georgia, 62% of the eligible voters are either unmarried women, people of color or millennials. 59% of them are registered to vote. 39% of the state’s eligible voters are people of color.
- In Alaska, 61% of the state’s eligible voters are members of the RAE; 62% of the RAE are registered to vote. People of color make up 38% of the state’s eligible voters.
- In Alabama, the RAE makes up 56% of the eligible voters; 62% of the RAE are registered to vote. 30% of eligible voters in Alabama are people of color.
- In Virginia, 56% of eligible voters are RAE members; 59% of the RAE are registered to vote. 30% of eligible voters are people of color.
Unmarried women make up at least a quarter of the eligible voters in these Super Tuesday states: Alabama (27%), Arkansas (25%), Georgia (27%), Massachusetts (27%), Minnesota (25%), Oklahoma (25%), Tennessee (27%), Texas (26%), and Vermont (25%).
Learn more about unmarried women in the Super Tuesday states:
The voices of more racially-diverse Presidential voters will be heard starting Feb. 20, 23, and 27 with the South Carolina primaries and Nevada caucuses. For the first time this primary season, the Rising American Electorate (RAE)—the population of unmarried women, people of color, and millennials—in South Carolina and Nevada make up the overwhelming majority of eligible voters, just as they do nationally.
The RAE makes up close to 57 (56.7%) percent of eligible voters in U.S. In Iowa, the RAE made up 45 percent of eligible voters and just 41 percent in New Hampshire. But in South Carolina, the RAE makes up 57 percent of eligible voters in the state; they make up 62 percent in Nevada.
The South Carolina primaries are the “first in the South” primaries for both parties. The Republican primary will be held on February 20; the Democrats will vote on February 27. Historically, these key early primaries have helped narrow the field of both Democratic and Republican contenders. The state does not have registration by party. Voters may vote in either party’s primary, but not in both.
South Carolina’s primary is the first contest in which a large percentage of the electorate will be African American. People of color make up 31 percent of the eligible voters in South Carolina. 65 percent of those eligible voters are registered to vote; 35 percent are not.
Unmarried women in South Carolina make up 27 percent of the eligible voters:
- Women make up more than half of South Carolina’s population (53%)
- There are more unmarried women (51.3%) than married women (48.7%) in the state.
- 5 percent of unmarried women in South Carolina are African-American.
- 64 percent of unmarried women are registered to vote.
A detailed demographic analysis from the Voter Participation Data Center shows that unmarried women have a large and vital economic stake in the outcome of the presidential election:
- Unmarried women have the highest unemployment rate in the state: 9.9%. They are more than two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than married women (3.7%).
- Unmarried women earn less than married women. Married women in South Carolina earn close to what a man earns (93.8%); unmarried women lag behind making 81.4 percent of what a man earns in the Palmetto State.
- More than a quarter of unmarried women in South Carolina live in poverty and unmarried women are more than 3 times as likely to live in poverty (25.8%) than married women (8.0%).
- About six in ten of all minimum wage or below-minimum wage workers in South Carolina are women.
Nevada’s Democratic caucus is scheduled for February 20; the GOP caucus is set for February 23. Nevada is the first state in the West to vote, the first primarily labor-based state to vote, and the first state with a significant Hispanic population to vote. Close to one in five (18.9%) of Nevada’s eligible voters is Hispanic. Fifty-four percent of eligible Hispanic voters in Nevada are registered to vote; 46 percent are not.
Anyone who will be 18 years old at the time of the Nov. 8 general election is eligible to participate in the caucuses, including high school students. The caucus is a partisan process; people who want to participate must be registered as a member of the party. Democrats have same-day registration while Republicans require voters to register by Feb. 13.
Unmarried women make up 26 percent of Nevada’s eligible voters.
- There are close to equal numbers of men and women in Nevada. Women make up 50.3% of Nevada’s population; men make up 49.7%.
- There are more unmarried women (51.6%) than married women (48.4%) in the state.
- More than a quarter of Hispanics are unmarried women (25.6%).
- 55 percent of unmarried women are registered to vote.
An economic profile from the Voter Participation Data Center makes it clear unmarried women have a lot riding on the outcome of the presidential election:
- Unmarried women have the highest unemployment rate in the state (11.5%). They are more than four times more likely to be unemployed than married women (2.6%)
- Unmarried women earn less than married women. Married women in Nevada earn 82.5% of what a man earns; unmarried women make 76.8% of what a man earns in the Palmetto State.
- More than a fifth of unmarried women in Nevada live in poverty and unmarried women are more than almost 3 times as likely to live in poverty (21.3%) than married women (7.7%).
Next: Super Tuesday, March 1
On February 9, New Hampshire voters will begin to winnow the field of presidential contenders. The New Hampshire primary is the first in the series of nationwide party primary elections (Iowa uses a caucus rather than a primary) and since 1952 it has been a major testing ground for candidates for both the Republican and Democratic nominations. Even though only a few delegates will be chosen in the New Hampshire primary, the massive media coverage it receives can make, break, or revive candidacies. One of the unique characteristics of the Granite State primary is that 60 percent of the voters who turn out in the two primaries have met at least one candidate.
Demographically, New Hampshire is very different than the rest of the nation. Its population is 1.5 percent African-American; the country is 13.2 percent African-American. People in New Hampshire are more educated and more likely to be homeowners than are residents of other states.
According to the most recent census data:
- Women make up more than half of the state’s population.
- 46.3% of New Hampshire’s women are unmarried.
- Unmarried women make up 23.6% of the eligible voters in New Hampshire.
- 61% of unmarried women are registered to vote.
A detailed demographic analysis done for the Voter Participation Center shows that unmarried women have a large and vital economic stake in the outcome of the presidential election:
- Unmarried women have the highest unemployment rate in the state – 6.5%.
- They earn substantially less than married women. Unmarried women in New Hampshire earn close to 62% (61.8%) of what a man earns; married women earn close to 90% (89.8%).
- Unmarried women are more than 7 times as likely to live in poverty (14.4 %) than married women (1.7%).
- About seven in ten of all minimum wage or below-minimum wage workers in New Hampshire are women.
Next up: South Carolina
We have to admit it: In an age of Facebook, online forms, and email, “snail mail” is a little old-school.
But when you’re talking about voter registration, mail is what works with the Rising American Electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and millennials). Mail was the second most popular means for the RAE to register to vote in 2014, second only to the DMV (thanks, Motor Voter!).