Union focuses on votes to make a difference in battleground states

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FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, file photo, voters wait in line to enter the Pip Moyer Recreation Center, in Annapolis, Md., on the first day of in-person early voting in the state. Tens of millions of Americans already cast ballots in the 2020 election amid record-breaking early voting during the coronavirus pandemic. But for some voters in a handful of states, casting an early ballot in-person isn’t even an option. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, File)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Union efforts to get out the vote may have resulted in millions of votes this year by people who sat out the 2016 election.

The Service Employees International Union’s “My Vote is Essential” program reports it is seeing significant results in nine battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The union supports former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign.

SEIU analyzed the 2016 results and found that the number of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin who cast a ballot in 2012, but stayed home in 2016, was bigger than President Donald Trump’s margin of victory.

“The Union’s political engagement since then has been centered around making sure that people who are too frequently left out or not engaged in the process — particularly infrequent voters of color — felt the stakes and turned up at the polls,” according to an SEIU statement released on Friday.

SEIU says more than 20 percent of early votes cast in battleground states this year were from people who did not vote in 2016.

The union, which represents an estimated 1.9 million workers in health care and other industries, has mobilized its support for Biden in the form of:

  • 33 million phone calls
  • 58 million texts
  • knocks on 1 million doors of infrequent voters across battleground states
  • a multi-million dollar paid advertising program

The union says it has reached 6 million infrequent voters and expects to reach another 1 million between Friday and Election Day.

“Every vote is essential. And it’s the essential workers who are voting — and turning their communities out to vote — who give me hope,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of SEIU.

“The Black and Latino workers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic as nursing home workers, fast-food workers, janitors and others are also the hardest hit by the sickness, death, and economic crisis,” Henry said. “They’re fed up and mobilizing in their communities to make their power felt at the ballot box.”

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