Eunic Ortiz

Issued October 30, 2020

SEIU Reaches Millions of Infrequent Voters in Final Days of the 2020 Elections

The “My Vote is Essential” Battleground Program is Expanding the Electorate By Turning Out Infrequent Voters of Color for Joe Biden


Early Results Show that More than 20 Percent of Early Votes Cast in Battleground States Did Not Vote in 2016

GOTV and Election Day Interview Opportunities: SEIU’s frontline essential workers in home and health care, janitorial, airport, food and other critical fields are available to talk about their work getting out the vote in final days of election in key battleground states to elect Joe Biden and other champions for healthcare, racial and economic justice.

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the most diverse union in America, has run one of the largest programs this election cycle to engage and turn out infrequent voters in battleground states for Joe Biden. As we head into GOTV weekend with record early vote totals, SEIU’s “My Vote is Essential” program is showing tangible results. 

SEIU’s analysis of the 2016 results determined early on that the number of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin who cast a ballot in 2012, but stayed home in 2016, was bigger than President Trump’s margin of victory. The Union’s political engagement since then has been centered around making sure that people who are too frequently left out or not engaged in the process -- particularly infrequent voters of color -- felt the stakes and turned up at the polls. 

With just days before the election, SEIU’s “My Vote is Essential” program is seeing significant results in nine battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. 

The heart and soul of SEIU’s infrequent voter engagement program are its Member Political Organizers (MPOs). These are everyday Americans who have put their lives on hold to do everything in their power to elect Joe Biden and champions up and down the ticket for healthcare, the right to join a union, and racial and economic justice. More than 1,000 SEIU members -- who have been essential workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic -- have phone-banked, sent texts and safely knocked on doors to reach voters who did not vote in 2016 or 2018. The members -- who range in age and are mostly women of color -- include home and health care, janitorial, airport, food and other service workers. 

"Every vote is essential. And it's the essential workers who are voting -- and turning their communities out to vote -- who give me hope," said Mary Kay Henry, International President of SEIU. "The Black and Latino workers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic as nursing home workers, fast-food workers, janitors and others are also the hardest hit by the sickness, death, and economic crisis. They're fed up and mobilizing in their communities to make their power felt at the ballot box. In these final days, SEIU members are doing everything they can to elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and progressive candidates across America so we can build a better future from this crisis.”

“Essential workers have experienced President Trump’s failure of leadership firsthand. We had patients, coworkers, and family members pass away and watched loved ones being pushed into poverty,” said Dr. Tobenna Ubu, an MPO and medical resident in Miami, Florida. “We know what’s at stake this election, which is why we’re organizing our communities and showing up for Joe Biden. We need a leader who will take this pandemic seriously and respect, protect and pay essential workers what we deserve.”

Since last fall, SEIU has been running a robust communications strategy across multiple platforms that included hundreds of multilingual streaming, social media and radio ads; digital and traditional organizing; and tele-town halls with thousands of organizers and volunteers. SEIU’s ads included information on voter registration and vote-by-mail deadlines; down ballot races; and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s plans to address COVID-19, healthcare, the economy, racial justice and more. 

SEIU’s final “Get Out The Vote” campaign ranges from upbeat ads inspired by iconic Latino cultural points (telenovelas and boxing promos) and a beauty innovation in Black women’s culture (acrylic nails) to personal ads about why union members in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Florida are voting for Biden. 

SEIU Member Political Organizers are available for interviews by Zoom or on the ground in Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.