One bright spot in this challenging week has been the wave of young people who have responded to President Obama’s urging them to register to vote. Positive as this is, we at Swing Left Greater Boston are among those worried about the obstacles these new voters may face. A shortage of poll workers and a lack of funding to make our elections safe are deeply worrying, as are continued Republican efforts to suppress the vote.
Luckily, there is an effective way to help our Democratic voters cast their votes and have their votes count. Vote by Mail gives voters a safe way to cast their ballot without encountering closed polling locations and broken or hacked voting machines. Historically, people of color and young people have overwhelmingly voted in person, while older, white voters signed up for absentee ballots. In 2016, just 3% of people on the absentee ballot registry were African Americans.
Closing the Vote by Mail gap between older white Republican voters and younger Democratic ones is vital. For the last 12 months, Swing Left Greater Boston has provided volunteers with the opportunity to send Vote by Mail applications to Democratic voters in Florida. Our efforts are paying off. The response rate has been as high as 5% when volunteers include return postage.
There are now more than 15,000 postcards a week winging their way from New England towards Democratic voters in Florida. Next week, Swing Left Greater Boston is launching a phone bank program to follow up on the postcards.
We invite you to learn more about this effective turnout project. Join us at Florida VBM briefing on Wednesday, June 17th at 5:30 pm. RSVP here.
Yours in activism,
Susan Labandibar and Lisa Greenberg