With the 2022 midterm elections a little less than a year away, HRC is already mobilizing all our channels to reach Equality Voters — more than 11 million LGBTQ+ voters and tens of millions of pro-equality allies — to ensure they’re ready to secure victory for pro-equality candidates.
If history tells us anything, we know Equality Voters will be ready. The immense power of LGBTQ+ voters and allies has been proven time and time again in recent years. And HRC has never been stronger or better prepared to tackle the obstacles ahead in the 2022 elections.
Our ongoing investment in reaching Equality Voters dates to 2017, when we launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in our organization’s history. We endorsed a record number of candidates across the country and up and down the ballot in the leadup to the 2018 midterm elections. We registered more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers who collectively clocked more than 25,000 hours of electoral efforts.
On election night 2018, we saw a greater turnout than we ever expected. We elected a record number of women, people of color and LGBTQ+ candidates up and down the ballot on election night, and elected a pro-equality U.S. House of Representatives, pulling an emergency brake on the Trump administration. And we were just getting started.
Unity Wins in 2020
In 2020, we mobilized unlike ever before and in unprecedented circumstances. We endorsed more than 650 pro-equality candidates — the most in our 40+ year history — up and down the ballot while deploying and hiring 139 staff members to virtually organize and mobilize voters in the midst of the pandemic. Through our various programs we launched 31.6 million email messages, delivered 7.2 million text messages and sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail. Even amid the challenges posed by COVID-19, more than 5,800 volunteers logged a collective 29,000 hours of voter contact in more than 2,650 virtual events, and we helped more than 200,000 people register to vote and find information about their voting options via our online voter dashboard.
Equality Voters provided a critical margin of victory in key battleground states and districts. We prioritized outreach to nearly 2 million potential voters in key battlegrounds in 2020, with the vast share of this audience being first-time voters and younger voters of color.
The Path Forward
We have continued our investment in six priority states - Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Staff has remained on the ground, helping to keep Equality Voters engaged and geared up for the next election cycle. Nearly all of these states will elect U.S. senators in 2022. Equality Voters will also be crucial to defending our pro-equality majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. And these states have key state-level races that will determine whether we are able to advance pro-LGBTQ+ state legislation for years to come.
“In the upcoming midterm elections, the stakes for LGBTQ+ people — and all of us — are huge,” said Geoff Wetrosky, HRC national campaign director. “Passing pro-LGBTQ+ federal legislation like the Equality Act becomes much more difficult if pro-equality majorities in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House are lost. And after anti-LGBTQ+ state lawmakers enacted a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in 2021, it’s imperative that we elect as many pro-LGBTQ+ candidates as we can to governors’ mansions and state legislatures. Fortunately, we know from previous elections that HRC is uniquely positioned to mobilize millions of voters who care about LGBTQ+ equality, especially younger voters and voters of color who turned out for the first time in 2018 and 2020, but may sit out the 2022 election if they’re not motivated to vote.”
While we are hopeful for more face-to-face voter outreach in 2022, there were important lessons learned as we adapted our efforts to meet Equality Voters where they were during the pandemic in 2020.
Equality Voters and HRC members and supporters made use of early and absentee or vote by mail at record numbers ahead of Election Day. These expanded options meant voting was more convenient and accessible in 2020. Preserving voting rights and these voting options will be critical to ensure participation in the 2022 midterms.