Through my research, I found that in 2000, 22 million single women felt so invisible within the electoral process that they did not vote. This number made unmarried women the largest group of eligible non-voters in the U.S. As a women who's devoted her life to civic participation, I found this fact staggering. Twenty million more voters and their voices could have had a huge impact. In fact, unmarried women are nine percent points less likely to register and 13 percent points less likely to vote than their married sisters.
I founded Women"s Voices. Women Vote in an effort to figure out how to reach unmarried women and encourage them to have their voices heard. In their day-to-day lives, surely these women knew of their individual power, but with WVWV I wanted to convince them of their individual and collective power to shape our nation. What we've found at WVWV is that they will vote if they feel people are listening and understand their lives. They will also vote when we make it easier. Since 2004 WVWV's outreach combined with it's unique approach to messaging to these women culturally, rather than politically, has helped get more and more women to the polls.
This week, WVWV is kicking-off our largest voter registration effort yet- with a goal of registering more than one million women on their own before the '08 election. Our "20 Million Reasons" PSA campaign -- featuring actors like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Christine Lahti, along side dozens of real women like single mom Candice Clark, 18-year-old magician Farrah Siegel and 87-year-old widow Tina Gainsbrough, shows unmarried women they truly have the power to decide who sits in the nation's highest office.
A lot has changed since 2000. For the first time in the U.S. history, single heads of households outnumber married heads of households, and women on their own are equal in number to married women. They represent 26 percent of the eligible voting population. If these women respond to the work of WVWV and vote -- imagine the possibilities.
Please watch our PSAs on our website. We hope that you will share these as widely as possible. We want more and more voices of women participating in the process and making sure that their concerns and interests are addressed as we go into this historic election.