In 2000, 537 Florida votes changed history, and we've suffered mightily since. That's why it's crucial to get out every vote possible next Tuesday, and not forget about the cohort which numbers over a quarter of the electorate: single women.
Before the Pennsylvania primary CNN commented, "...it is the unmarried, young women voters, who are really key ... unmarried women will be to progressives what the evangelicals were to conservatives and ...[they] will determine the future of this country."
Yet single women of all ages, the fastest growing group of eligible voters (53 million), have been the least likely to vote of any group, including African-Americans or Hispanics: twenty million of them didn't vote in the 2004 presidential election. Not surprisingly, those who did, voted overwhelmingly for Kerry.
Compared to marrieds, fewer single women have health insurance or own homes or cars. Almost half have household incomes of $30,000 a year or less, often working long hours for less pay than men. With one paycheck they're often more at risk if they have credit cut. They are frightened of losing their home, or getting laid off from work, and there's often little to fall back on. Over ten million unmarried women are single moms, with kids at home and special worries about health care and retirement.
In this volatile economy, single women suffer, and Hillary has done her best to encourage them to vote. But will they fight the crowds this time? Because unmarrieds skew younger, they historically vote in low numbers. Many single women mean to vote but just don't get around to it, and mundane realities thwart them: no one to prompt them when they're tired and have to shop and cook, or they can't find a babysitter so they are able to spend four hours standing in long lines at the polls.
Solos, if you haven't yet, please be sure to go out of your way to vote. And please contact your single friends and offer them support so they can vote, too. Maybe rotate child care with a group, or carpool to the polls and then have an election party together. Employers, offer single workers time off from work to vote (Obama suggests the day!) Fellow workers, offer to take over their responsibilities while your single co-workers go to the polls.
Right now, whether you're a friend, acquaintance, work buddy or family member, call the single women in your life. Drive them, stand with them, babysit their children. Do whatever it takes to make sure that they join the throngs of voters on Tuesday.
Lea Lane is founder/editor of sololady.com
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