The non-partisan group in the United States that mobilized an “army of environmental super voters” in
last year’s presidential campaign is back with new analysis that shows how important those voters could be in mid-term elections in 2022.
During the 2020 race, the Massachusetts-based Environmental Voters Project contacted nearly 6.2
million voters in 12 U.S. states “who rank environmental issues as a top concern, but rarely, if ever,
vote,” Grist reported at the time. “The group estimates that they’ve been able to convert just over
733,000 of those people into regular voters in the last five years.”
Now, EVP is out with a new report “showing the potential of registered voters who list the environment
as their most important issue but are unlikely to vote in the 2022 mid-term,” Inside Climate News says.
“There are hundreds of thousands of low-propensity environmental voters (LPEVs) in purple states like
Georgia and Arizona, both of which narrowly went for Joe Biden in November,” Inside Climate explains.
They’re generally women aged 18 to 34, and “less likely to be white than the general voting
population.” That’s where EVP founder Nathaniel Stinnett is focusing his attention—initially for municipal elections in places like Detroit.
“These seldom-voting environmentalists in cities across America present a tremendously high-leverage opportunity for the climate moment: with a small investment of time and resources from donors and volunteers, environmental voters could overwhelm local elections in 2021 and spur the next wave of robust climate leadership,” he told Inside Climate. “Indeed, the climate movement could end up achieving more in 2021 than we have in most national elections.”
Whether the focus is on local councils or on congressional elections that take place at the midpoint
between presidential votes, the EVP is trying to discover how to keep environmental voters engaged—and get them to the ballot box. “Many voters still feel that the biggest and easiest way to make a large impact is to vote for presidential candidates,” Inside Climate writes. “The question then is, how to turn these voters out for elections that receive far less coverage and fanfare.” And that’s much more a matter of strategy than a focus on any specific issue or candidate.
“The first task is sorting through legions of voter files and identifying voters who list the environment as
their top voting priority but, according to public voter rolls, have only turned out in presidential election
years,” ICN explains. “This is what qualifies someone as a low-propensity voter.”
The voters on the EVP’s priority list are “definitionally invested” in climate action, but the messaging
doesn’t focus on policy. Instead, “ads appeal to a voter’s sense of how they want to be viewed, because according to Stinnett, ‘even people who don’t vote want to be seen as good voters’.”
Which is why every local election matters as a learning experience or teachable moment. “Of the 800
elections this year, not all are important to green stuff,” Stinnett told ICN, “but all are important to
Inside Climate News has more on the Environmental Voters Project’s approach and how it’s landing in