Philadelphia General Election Vote By Mail Requests Show Stark Disparities By Race

PHILADELPHIA — All Voting is Local Pennsylvania today released two tools to track absentee ballot requests for the 2020 general election across the Commonwealth and in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia tool includes a new analysis that reveals stark disparities in vote by mail requests in predominantly Black and Brown precincts. Although the gap is statewide, it is most stark in Philadelphia. Using Census data we found that in predominantly white precincts, 31% of voters have requested their vote by mail ballots compared to 22% of voters in predominantly Black precincts and 17% in predominantly Latino precincts. 

“Our elected officials need to do more to engage with the Black and Brown communities throughout Pennsylvania regarding all of their voting options for the general election,” said Scott Seeborg, All Voting is Local Pennsylvania state director. “It’s not enough just to have the options, people need to know about them and use them. Our leaders need to do more to build trust in and educate everyone about the various ways to vote this year. Having this analysis now makes it possible to shift and target outreach more effectively to the communities who need it most in order to ensure that they are not disenfranchised.”

These tools provide a roadmap that the Commonwealth’s election officials can utilize to shift their outreach to ensure that all eligible voters have the ability to cast their ballots and be heard during the November 3 general election.

“The data are clear and unsurprising,” said Dr. Megan Gall, All Voting is Local’s national data director. “Our maps and tools are updated every time the Secretary of State releases new data to us so that we are able to track absentee ballots in real time leading up to the general election. We see the same pattern we saw in the primary in Pennsylvania and states across the nation. But we have time to close the gap. We’ll continue to update analyses and monitor progress, and we hope elections officials will use the tools to help address the issue.” 

All Voting is Local will continue to monitor progress through the 2020 election.

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