The Human Rights Campaign, alongside Fair Fight and HIT Strategies, have released research highlighting how COVID-19 has exacerbated voter suppression towards voters who are LGBTQ and people of colour. The research survey included a sample of individuals from across the United States, including focus groups in Wisconsin and Georgia.
“Voters across the country this fall will face unprecedented challenges as they attempt to safely make their voices heard at the ballot box this November,” said Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David.
“Yet, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and the Republican leadership continue to deliberately suppress the vote for marginalized communities, adding roadblock after roadblock in their misguided attempt to make it harder for us to vote. LGBTQ voters are hopeful, resilient and ready to cast their ballots this November – from the voting booth to the mailbox.”
“LGBTQ voters are making their voices heard by mail and through early voting in droves despite a myriad of obstacles,” said Fair Fight Senior Advisor, Lauren Groh-Wargo.
“Understanding what motivates and what deters voters of all backgrounds is crucial in overcoming voter suppression. With the challenges to Americans of voting during the pandemic, the Human Rights Campaign and HIT Strategies have done the hard work of applying an evidence-based approach to ensure that LGBTQ voters are able to make their voices heard and have their votes counted.”
“Trump and his Republican enablers in congress have consistently targeted the LGBTQ community from their first day they came into office. But [neither] their petty intimidation tactics nor COVID-19 are going to prevent the LGBTQ community from casting ballots in this cycle,” said Terrance Woodbury, partner at HIT Strategies.
“In fact, 94% of LGBTQ voters say they’re going to vote despite the pandemic and as we’re seeing throughout the country, whether it is by voting early, voting by mail, or standing in line wearing gloves and masks, LGBTQ voters are making sure their votes are being counted.”
Even as LGBTQ people continue to suffer the disproportionate negative economic and health impacts of COVID-19, research shows that the LGBTQ community is also being impacted by COVID-19 in ways that could impact how or if they vote in November.
LGBTQ rights and combatting discrimination are priority issues on the ballot motivating the LGBTQ community to vote [this month]. Voting to remove Donald Trump and Mike Pence is a priority, after their administration has enacted numerous policies targeting LGBTQ people, and other marginalized communities. As [America] continues to grapple with an epidemic of killings and injustice faced by Black people across the country, LGBTQ voters are motivated to hold elected leaders accountable, including voting for leaders who will address over-policing, police brutality, misconduct, and harassment affecting Black people throughout the nation.
The research also shows:
- 76% of LGBTQ voters feel that Donald Trump and 70% of LGBTQ voters feel that Republicans are making it harder for people to vote.
- 66% of LGBTQ voters feel that politicians in general are making it harder to vote.
- 59% of LGBTQ voters feel that special interests and corporations are making it harder for people to vote.
- 72% of LGBTQ voters believe that Democrats are trying to make voting easier.
Last year, HRC and Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight announced a partnership to combat voter suppression in the critically important upcoming 2020 election. Through this new partnership, HRC is making a six-figure investment in Fair Fight’s crucial work, and leverage the existing resources and staff power HRC brings to bear. Founded by Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight promotes fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourages voter participation in elections and educates voters about elections and their voting rights.
HRC recently released Banned from the Ballot Box: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws on LBTQ Women of Color, a new HRC report detailing the United States’ history of felony disenfranchisement and how laws have suppressed the voices of communities of colour, women, and LGBTQ people, and led to over-policing and mass incarceration.
Within the LGBTQ community, people of colour, LGBTQ youth, and transgender individuals are often the most impacted by weakened voting rights laws. A poll found that African-American and Latino voters were three times as likely as white voters to report trouble finding their polling place.
With one-third of transgender people reporting having no government identification that reflects their gender identity, voter ID laws often forcibly ‘out’ transgender voters to poll workers, putting them at risk for discrimination and harassment.
Earlier this year, HRC Foundation and HIT Strategies released the first results of a national survey of voters of colour, including LGBTQ voters of colour, to determine voter sentiment in regards to vote by mail.