George Floyd protests created surge in voter registrations, groups say

A protester holding a fist in the air and a sign that says Prosecute Killer Cops!!, Vote Trump Out, Black Lives Matter, Stop Killing Us and Enough is Enough outside the Barclays Center.

Ira L. Black | Corbis | Getty Images

Voter registrations, volunteer activity and donations for groups linked to Democratic causes are surging in the midst of protests following the death of George Floyd, according to voting advocacy groups.

This surge in registrations could end up being one of the factors that helps tip the election between apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. The efforts are by groups including Latino voter registration organizations, Rock the Vote and one co-chaired by former first lady Michelle Obama.

Latino voter registration groups in recent weeks have noticed an uptick in their communities mobilization to vote, particularly from younger voters. The leaders of these organizations said that many are registering after nationwide outrage directed at police brutality and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left over 100,000 dead and tens of millions jobless in the United States. Unemployment rates for Hispanic and black workers remained high at 17.6% and 16.8%, respectively, even after the nation added 2.5 million jobs last month.

Latino voters are a key voting bloc for whom Biden and Trump are competing. Yet polls show that Trump has largely been out of favor with the majority of the Latino community, in the wake of his administration’s efforts to cut off funding to young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally and to build a border wall across the Mexican border. A recent survey shows 62% of registered Latino voters would back Biden over Trump. 

Floyd died last week while being subdued by a white Minneapolis police officer. The four officers involved in the arrest of the black man have been charged in his death, which sparked nationwide protests. Many young Latino voters, leaders of these groups said, are showing solidarity with members of the black community in their opposition to Trump. 

Voto Latino, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that is looking to help Democrats overtake Trump by registering a record number of Latinos to vote, said it has seen a massive upswing of registrations since protests began over a week ago.  

Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of the organization, told CNBC the group has already surpassed its June goal of registering 20,000 people, including in the key states of Arizona and Texas, and is expected to have 50,000 Latino youth registered by Sunday. She said they’ve done extensive digital test ads in states across the country tying the need to vote to what Latinos are witnessing in the protests. She said the group has leaped over its June target of spending $140,000 in those two Southwest states, where polls show a tight race between Trump and Biden. 

Now, the group is preparing to invest another $300,000 as a result of the gains. Kumar has previously told CNBC that she is aiming…

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