By Waverly Colville
Women of color are becoming an increasingly essential voting block to cultivate. In the 1964 presidential election, only 1 in 20 voters was a woman of color. But by 2012, that number increased to 1 in 6, according to the Bureau of the Census cited by American Progress.
America saw it in Alabama, when a Democrat beat a Republican in a special election for the first time in 25 years. In statewide races since 2008, black people consisted of about 25 percent of voter turnout. But in the 2017 special election, the black vote accounted for 29 percent according to exit polls cited by The Huffington Post. Black women made up 17 percent of that.
With midterm elections coming up, the women of color vote matters. They hold the power to change elections in unlikely ways– but that’s only if they show up to the polls.
Voter turnout among people of color has been historically lower than white people. In the 2016 election, white voter turnout was 65.3 percent. Black voter turnout was 59.6 percent, Asian was 49.3 percent and Hispanic was 47.6 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.
But if more people of color, especially women, come out to vote, Democrats could win a House and Senate majority.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 64 percent of female voters say they would vote for a Democrat over 29 percent who would choose a Republican. The Democrats’ 12-point overall lead is the most significant gap in a ABC News/Washington Post poll since 2006, according to Time.
Currently, the House and the Senate are both run by Republicans. The Senate is 49 Democrats to 51 Republicans. There are 34 seats up in 2018, 26 of which are held by Democrats.
The House now has 221 Republicans and 195 Democrats, with all 435 Congressional Districts up for election. With 218 seats needed for control, Democrats need to win 23 more seats.
The elections will be held on November 6, 2018 and the most important thing women of color can do is show up to the polls. Be sure you are registered. You can register to vote through your local DMV or visit Vote.gov. Also Rock-the-Vote has a site that links to relevant offices across the US. Voting rules vary from state to state, so double check your local laws online. With some states, it’s as easy as filling in an online form.