New Research Indicates Racial Justice is Top Factor Motivating Young Voters of Color
National poll reveals structural inequality, police brutality and coronavirus pandemic are at top of minds for young voters of color heading to the polls
WASHINGTON— Young voters of color say they are headed to the polls in November because they want to see change around systemic inequality and racism, according to a series of focus groups and findings from a recent poll released today by Advancement Project National Office.
The data was collected as a part of the organization’s Young Voters of Color Get Out the Vote Campaign. The campaign, which launches today, aims to motivate and mobilize young people of color—recognizing that Black, Brown, Native American and Asian American voters will make up one third of all eligible voters in 2020.
The national survey of 1,915 eligible Black, Latinx, Native and Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) voters ages 18-24 years old, found that young people of color were best motivated to vote with bold messages centering the issues they care most about: racism and systemic inequality.
“Young voters like me are anxious to get to the November election and are scrambling to understand the voting environment,” said Kelsey Perine a senior at Southern University and A & M College and member of Advancement Project’s Young Voters of Color Advisory Committee. “For young people, it can be hard to register in states like Louisiana and it can be challenging to sift through information to learn what is true and untrue. We need to hear about the issues we care about and what to do if we get turned away from the polls.”
Key findings of the national polling (margin of error +/- 3%) and three focus groups including the following:
- The top issues motivating young voters to cast a ballot this November are: racial justice, the coronavirus pandemic and police brutality.
- Concerns about coronavirus exposure, confusion about new voting methods, worries about the post office, and lack of awareness of vote-by-mail are indicate more education is needed on how to vote.
- While young people of color are broadly skeptical of the nation’s political system, they remain engaged in their communities: 27% of respondents reported they had protested this year and 25% reported volunteering their time with a nonprofit or charity in 2020.
- Qualitative data shows many feel very much left out of the political process and conversation.
- Messaging describing voting as a “duty of all citizens in a democracy” resonated the least with young voters of color.
“Young people of color have led the racial justice movement this summer with significant wins around policing. They are leading racial justice campaigns in the streets and intend to vote on the issues that mean the most to their communities this fall,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office.
Survey results indicate that seventy-eight percent (78%) of young voters of color have taken one or more political actions this year including signing a petition, posting or sharing content online, and protesting. One in four said they had participated in a protest.
“National, state and local groups reaching out to young people of color during the election season should talk explicitly about racism, injustice and inequality,” Jorge L. Vasquez Jr., Power and Democracy Program Director at Advancement Project National Office. “We must continue educating young voters about how to safely and securely cast a ballot in 2020. Clear communications about available voting options will help address their understandable anxiety about unfamiliar voting methods and COVID-19 exposure at the polls.”
Advancement Project National Office’s Young Voters of Color Get Out the Vote digital campaign will focus on reaching and helping to educate low-propensity young voters of color, first-time voters, and young voters of color who are eligible to vote but are currently unregistered.
Access the campaign’s messaging guide here.
Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org