Jul 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Women of color highly motivated to vote

Photo of a group of women arm in arm walking through the lobby of a building and shouting

Voting rights activists, led by Congressional Black Caucus chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), protest recent passage of voter restriction laws at Hart Senate Office Building on July 15, 2021. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Women of color turned out to vote at record rates in the 2020 election, with almost nine in 10 agreeing that the stakes were too high not to vote, according to a new poll.

Why it matters: The findings in the poll, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of a group of reproductive justice organizations, appear to confirm the highly-motivated voting bloc's emerging power.

By the numbers: Eight in 10 women of color voted for Biden in the 2020 election, according to the poll, which surveyed and interviewed 1,617 adult women (18+) in the U.S. who self-identify as Black or African American; of Hispanic, Latina, or Spanish-speaking background; or Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI).

  • The number of Latina and AAPI first-time voters jumped at least seven points since 2018, while Black women had an outsized influence in critical swing states like Georgia, Texas and Florida.
  • Nearly eight in 10 women of color voters polled reported voting early, while 52% voted by mail, ballot drop box or absentee.
  • But two in five women of color voters polled faced challenges while voting last year, an increase of eight points since 2018. About 19% said they were asked to show ID at the polls, 11% saw disinformation on social media and 11% faced long voting lines.
  • Despite these obstacles, nine in 10 first-time voters said they were committed to voting in the next election.

Worth noting: About 57% say they will be watching their elected officials in Congress more closely compared to previous elections.

  • Women of color are more likely to vote for candidates who prioritize ending discrimination, protecting reproductive rights and ensuring access to health insurance.
    • About 79% want their elected officials to understand how white supremacy impacts their lives.
  • "Failure to deliver on the issues that women of color voters care about comes with electoral consequences," the report states.

The big picture: Democrats have attempted to combat the GOP's attacks with federal legislation, but Senate Republicans filibustered Democrats' sweeping voter protections bill in June.

The bottom line: Efforts to enact restrictions "hit us hard," but women of color voters "made clear this last election that they are paying attention and won't be ignored," Marcela Howell, the president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, said in a statement.

Methodologies: Interviews were conducted online and via telephone using live, professional interviewers from April 7 to May 16, 2021. The survey was made available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean or Vietnamese.

  • The data was weighted by region, age, and education to ensure a representative sample of women of color who voted in the 2020 general elections.
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