Get-out-the-vote efforts focused on environmental issues makes impact in Philadelphia and collar counties

Written by on November 16, 2020

Get-out-the-vote efforts focused on environmental issues makes impact in Philadelphia and collar counties

By Hannah Chinn, WHYY

November 16, 2020

The Sunrise Movement has organized protests like this one in July in Philadelphia to pressure the Democratic National Committee to hold a primary debate focused on climate change. Jeff Brady/NPR

Environmentalists aren’t always good at showing up to the polls. This election season, get-out-the-vote efforts turned out nearly 55,000 new voters who said they prioritized climate and environmental issues.

Listen to the story.

At first glance, it might seem counterintuitive: Why would environmentalists NOT vote? To answer that, you have to look more closely at who environmentalists are… really. 

Nathaniel Stinnett is the founder of the Environmental Voter Project, which aims to increase turnout among those who say climate is their main concern.

“In every state that the Environmental Voter Project works in, we find that young people are more likely than older people, people of color are more likely than white people, and people who make less than 50,000 a year… are more likely to list climate and environment as their top priorities.”

People of color and low-income communities in the U.S. are much more likely to be affected by toxic air and polluted water. And those groups are also less likely to vote, due to systems of voter suppression. But last week in Pennsylvania, environmentalists turned out in record numbers and may have helped tip the balance in the presidential race.

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