- LGBT+ voters are particularly motivated to vote in 2020 and could be decisive in many swing states.
As the US goes to the polls today, there are 9million LGBT+ Americans who can cast their ballot – if they haven’t done so already.
Today they will all have the same choice that all Americans face.
However there are crucial differences between the average LGBT+ voter and the typical straight, cisgender voter. Some of those differences are positive, and some unfortunate.
One sad fact is that thousands of people in our community may not be able to vote.
States across the country have laws that can make it harder for transgender people to vote. Indeed, eight states have strict voter ID laws. These require voters to provide a government-issued photo ID to vote on a regular ballot at the polls.
The respected Williams Institute, experts in LGBT+ research, estimates there are nearly 1million transgender people who are eligible to vote.
However, it says 40% of these trans voters do not have IDs that match their correct name or gender. And a little over 80,000 of those without the right IDs live in the states with strict ID laws.
Meanwhile, over one-third of LGBT+ votes are black or Latinx. These make up 13% and 22% of the LGBT+ electorate respectively.
Again, voter suppression efforts disproportionately impact LGBT+ people who are people of color, disabled, low income, older or younger citizens.
What LGBT+ voters have in common
But while many in our community may find it harder to vote, the average LGBT+ voter appears highly motivated.
In one positive about the power of queer America, the Williams Institute says LGBT+ voters are significantly more likely than non-LGBT voters to support candidates who are black, Latinx, or LGBT+.
Equally LGBT voters are more likely than non-LGBT voters to be male, young, and live in urban areas.
And interestingly, LGBT+ voters were significantly more likely than non-LGBT+ voters to support a seasoned political candidate.
At the same time, the LGBT+ community can have a particularly big impact on this – or any – election.
Sadly it could have been even more positive. However, 21% of eligible LGBT+ Americans won’t be taking part in 2020 – just because they are not registered to vote.
Of course, not all LGBT+ voters are alike.
This week, new research emerged showing the differences between gay, lesbian and bi Democrats and Republicans and the ways they relate to their sexuality and to our community.
LGBT+ voting power and a rainbow wave
But there is still a degree of unanimity unlike that in other demographic groups.
Far more LGBT+ Americans support the Democrats. And polling in this election shows that lead is as high as ever in 2020.
The most accurate poll indicates that 76% of LGBT+ people will back Joe Biden with only 17% casting their ballot for Donald Trump.
Despite this, with just hours to go until it’s all over – the election is far too close to call. All candidates are now focused on rallying their supporters to vote before it’s too late.
And while the eyes of the world will be focused on who wins the White House, even more is at stake. The Democrats are in with a chance of winning the US Senate and likely to retain control of the House of Representatives.
Moreover, there are multiple important state and local races.
And with huge numbers of LGBT+ candidates, it’s worth watching to see if the US has a rainbow wave sweeping into office.