One-Fifth of LGBTQ Adults Aren’t Registered to Vote, Says New Study

A report from the Williams Institute looked at LGBTQ Americans and voter registration stats ahead of the 2020 election.

Nearly nine million LGBTQ Americans are set to cast their ballots in November 2020, but a significant chunk of eligible queer adults have yet to register.

A new study from the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law’s think tank for LGBTQ issues in public policy, has examined the results of a 2019 national Ipsos poll for further insight in the voting habits of queer Americans. The data—collected from a random survey of 2,230
LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ respondents ages 18 and up—yielded some interesting finds.

Despite living under an anti-LGBTQ Republican administration, about one-fifth of LGBTQ adults in the U.S. (21%) are not registered to vote. This is after an unprecedented wave of openly LGBTQ politicians were elected into office in 2018—a trend that is expected to continue this November—and more than 50 Pride 2019 events nationwide featured voter registration booths to assist LGBTQ adults in the process.

For non-LGBTQ adults in the U.S., that figure is lower: Researchers estimate that just 17% of cisgender, heterosexual adults nationwide currently remain unregistered.

Of the whooping nine million queer adults who are registered to vote, about half are registered as Democrats. Fifteen percent are registered as Republicans, while 22% of registered LGBTQ voters are independent. Across the board, queer voters are also significantly more likely to support black, Latinx, and LGBTQ political candidates than their non-LGBTQ voter counterparts.

In terms of gender, most registered queer voters are men (57%). Factoring race into the equation, most LGBTQ voters are white (61%) or Latinx (22%), with black or multiracial Americans comprising the remaining percentages.

Christy Mallory, the study’s author and the state and local policy director at the Williams Institute, added that LGBTQ voters differ from non-LGBTQ voters in “several ways”:

For example, they are more likely to be young, male, and live in urban areas. LGBT voters are also more likely to identify with the Democratic Party. Over four million LGBT Democrats are eligible to vote in the primaries next year.

Head over to the Williams Institute’s website for the full report—and while you’re at it, make sure you’re registered to vote.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.