Democrats, what the hell are we doing about our horrible new voter trump registration numbers? With only two months to get people to registered.
Late last month, the Democratic data firm TargetSmart found that while new voter registrations had plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic, those who were registering in competitive states tended to be whiter, older and less Democratic than before. When he saw the numbers, Ben Wessel, executive director of NextGen America, said he "got nervous," and other Democratic-leaning groups felt the same. The report seemed to confirm what state elections officials and voter registration groups had been seeing in the field for weeks: Neither Democrats nor Republicans had been registering many voters during the pandemic. But Democrats were suffering disproportionately from the slowdown.
Last month in Iowa, where the race between Trump and Joe Biden is surprisingly close, Republicans nosed back ahead of Democrats in active registrations after ceding the lead to Democrats for the first time in years.
“In some states, before the pandemic, you were seeing a net edge for Democrats,” said Page Gardner, founder and president of the Voter Participation Center, which works to register young people, people of color and unmarried women.
Now, she said, “in some states … the advantage has shrunk substantially.”
For months last year and in early 2020, Democrats had been registering voters at a faster clip than Republicans in many competitive states that register by party, including Iowa, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Arizona and Nevada. That was in part a function of the Democratic Party’s competitive presidential primary, and in part a reflection of animosity toward Trump. But the effect of the pandemic on voter registrations was severe. Department of moter vehicles closures, stay-at-home orders and restrictions on large gatherings limited opportunities for new registrations. In a report on the decline last month, the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation & Research concluded that “the steep decline in new registrations may prove to be a sizable obstacle to what was set, pre-pandemic, to be a record election for turnout.”