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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.

Go deeper

Philly's push for inclusive city contracts

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Rebuild Ready, a city program created to provide administrative and technical support to diverse talent, helped train 96 businesses to compete for local government contracts.

  • Nearly 89% of those businesses are owned by people of color.

Why it matters: More than 65% of Philadelphia identifies as a race other than white, per the City Controller's Office.

  • The city aims to have a third of companies contracted for a city project be owned and run by people of color this year.
Nov 9, 2021 - Health

Abortion rights leader: GOP wins signal “scary moment”

NARAL president Mini Timmaraju. Photo: Lawrence Busacca/Getty Images for Women in Cable Telecommunications

When Republicans successfully captured voters by leaning into critical race theory as an education issue, it reminded the new president of NARAL how the GOP has "scared" Democratic candidates out of talking about abortion rights in past campaigns.

What they're saying: "The right-wing misinformation machine is getting more sophisticated," Mini Timmaraju told Axios. "What we saw in Virginia — it’s very similar to the tactics used to scare candidates from talking about abortion."

John Frank, author of Denver
Nov 9, 2021 - Axios Denver

The questions GOP candidates refuse to answer ahead of 2022 election

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

One year from the 2022 elections, Republicans in Colorado are feeling the midterm momentum, buoyed by historical results favoring the party out of power and the GOP’s win in the Virginia governor's race.

Driving the news: First, though, Republican candidates need to find answers to a handful of tricky questions about former President Donald Trump, the legitimacy of the 2020 election and how to look at the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

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