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Women will decide this election

October 30, 2020, 7:53 PM UTC
Commentary-Woman Early Voting
A woman casts her ballot at the Milwaukee Public Library on Oct. 20, 2020. Women are voting in the 2020 election because their lives depend on it, write Cecile Richards and Amanda Brown Lierman.
Bing Guan—Reuters

We’re five days away from an election that will determine our country’s future for generations to come. None of us knows what the outcome will be (despite what we might read on Twitter). But what we do know is this: Women will decide this election

Despite being left out of the Constitution, women—and women of color in particular—have been at the forefront of defending our democracy from the very beginning. The 2016 election was another inflection point in our country’s history, with Hillary Clinton’s heartbreaking loss to Donald Trump galvanizing women like never before. Millions took to the streets the day after Inauguration Day in the largest political demonstration in the history of our country. From women lawyers who provided support at airports in the wake of the Muslim ban and flocked to the border in droves to help asylum seekers, to the survivors of sexual assault who bravely spoke out against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to Congress), to the tidal wave of diverse women elected to office in 2018, women are the most powerful political force in America.

At Supermajority, a women’s advocacy organization working to mobilize millions of women into political action, we believe that when we bring women together across race, age, geography, and background, they can change the direction of this country. And that’s exactly what’s happening right now. 

Over the past seven months, women—especially women of color—have kept America running. They’re essential workers putting their bodies on the line; caregivers holding our loved ones’ hands when we can’t; educators making sure their students are not only learning, but safe and healthy; and parents struggling to balance full-time work with childcare. In the midst of an economic crisis that has taken a devastating toll on women—especially Black and Latina women—women watched Trump and Republicans in the Senate rush to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who wants to take away health care during a pandemic and roll back reproductive rights.  

Now, women are voting because their lives depend on it. Nearly 37 million women have already cast their ballots, making up 53.4% of early voters. In key states, women are fueling Joe Biden’s lead in the polls, putting us on track to surpass the record-setting gender gap we saw in 2016. Women make up the majority of this country, and we’ve been the majority of voters in every election since 1964

Beyond their role as voters, women are working around the clock to mobilize others. To date, Supermajority volunteers have sent nearly 6.5 million texts to voters, mailed more than 52,000 letters, and made more than 40,000 calls. In the meantime, women have donated $2 billion to federal candidates, including $33.4 million to Biden and just $8.7 million to Trump. And just like in 2018, women are making history on the ballot, with a record-breaking number of women running for office—from state legislatures all the way to Vice President. 

The story of this election is being written right now, and it’s women who are writing it. One of those women is Beatrice Lumpkin in Chicago. At 102 years old, she hasn’t missed an election since she cast her vote for FDR in 1940. So this year, she put on a hazmat suit and walked her ballot to her mailbox. In Floyd County, Ga., Mallory Rogers is one of thousands of 16- and 17-year-old young women across the country who have signed up to be poll workers despite not being old enough to vote. Thaís Carrero was turned away from her job at the Pennsylvania state house after she forgot her badge, because a coworker wasn’t sure she “belonged” there. She decided she needed to do more to fight for her fellow Latinx Americans; now, she works for CASA in Action, an organization that’s working to engage voters and advocate for a representative government that’s actually representative. 

In a tough election cycle, nothing gives us more hope than knowing the world is finally waking up to the fact that women are not a special interest group; we’re the majority of this country. This year, we are going to elect a President and Vice President who will put the issues that affect our lives front and center—like affordable health care and childcare, systemic racism and inequality, and reproductive rights. Going back to where we were before this crisis isn’t going to cut it. We need to chart an entirely new future—one where our lives are safe, our bodies are respected, our work is valued, our families are supported, and our government represents us. 

Women have been waiting to vote in this presidential election since the day after the last one. Now, we’re making our voices heard. 

Cecile Richards is cofounder of Supermajority.

Amanda Brown Lierman is managing director of Supermajority.