Metro Weekly

VIDEO: Human Rights Campaign urges Americans to vote for LGBTQ equality in 2018

HRC publishes full-page ad in "USA Today" and launches online voter registration PSA to recruit key "Equality Voters"

Sarah McBride and Jessie Paege – Photo: Human Rights Campaign, via YouTube.

The Human Rights Campaign is urging voters to support LGBTQ rights this November.

As part of National Voter Registration Day, the Human Rights Campaign is pursuing a two-pronged approach asking Americans to become so-called “Equality Voters” in the 2018 midterm elections.

For the first prong, HRC published a full-page ad in USA Today urging Americans to pledge to vote for pro-LGBTQ candidates on or before Nov. 6.

The full-page ad also doubles as a poster so that anyone can set it up in their window for others to see.

“USA Today” ad – Photo: Human Rights Campaign.

Over the past 9 months, as part of its “HRC Rising” campaign, the organization has invested a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into ginning up turnout among an estimated 10 million LGBTQ voters and 52 million already-registered voters who have been identified by grassroots campaign staff as “Equality Voters”  — meaning they are more disposed to vote for a candidate because, not in spite of, that candidate’s support for LGBTQ rights.

HRC believes that “Equality Voters” will be an influential voting bloc in the upcoming elections, and has been working with on-the-ground organizers in several key states with statewide contests — including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona — and in more than 70 House districts across the country, to educate and engage those voters, in the hope of getting them to the polls on or before Election Day.

In recent election cycles, HRC believes that “Equality Voters” have been instrumental in swinging close races. They have been credited with helping to oust HB 2 supporter Pat McCrory in North Carolina’s 2016 gubernatorial election, whittling away Republicans’ numerical advantage in the Virginia House of Delegates by supporting various pro-equality candidates last November, and providing the narrow margin of victory for Doug Jones in Alabama’s U.S. Senate election last December.

“HRC is working harder than ever to turn out Equality Voters and pull the emergency brake on the reckless, discriminatory agenda of Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs, said in a statement. “As we face attack after attack on LGBTQ equality from the Trump-Pence Administration, it’s absolutely crucial that voters make a plan to vote and ensure we send a pro-equality majority to Congress this November.”

To that end, the organization’s political action committee, Equality PAC, has endorsed candidates for various state and federal offices, including incumbent U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and U.S. Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), who are running to unseat Republican Senate incumbents.

HRC has also endorsed incumbent U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee, Debbie Dingell, Brenda Lawrence, Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, and Matt Cartwright, and congressional challengers Elissa Slotkin, Dan Kohl, Madeleine Dean, and Mary Gay Scanlon.

Gubernatorial candidates earning nods from the organization are Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Richard Cordray of Ohio, Steve Sisolak of Nevada, Lupe Valdez of Texas, Karl Dean of Tennessee, Andrew Gillum of Florida and incumbent Governors Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Kate Brown of Oregon.

For the second prong, HRC has launched an online video featuring social media influencer Jessie Paege and HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride showing “how easy it is to register to vote in under two minutes” by visiting HRC’s website.

See HRC’s voter registration pitch video below: 

Voters in any state can text “VOTER” to 30644 to verify their voter registration, find their polling place, and receive election reminders. For more information or to register, people can visit HRC’s Equality Voter Action Center at hrc.org/vote.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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