Voting in the South: Gender and Politics

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Today just a brief thought about my new life in the South. Elections Matter! Having lived in New York all of my voting-age life, I have voteasyoupleasedeveloped a particular (admittedly luxurious) sentiment about the polls: that I could comfortably vote for a third party candidate that has a platform I believe in, despite the candidate’s minimal to non-existent chance of winning. Those of you who are tuned into the upcoming elections have probably heard the pressure that is resting on North Carolina’s senatorial race (along with races in a handful of other states). Down here we are unable to forget, and even with the five hours/week I have the television on, I am shocked at the amount of money that has gone into this campaign.

It turns out that gender will be a massive deciding factor in this election. The Duke Chronicle reports:

The current senatorial race between incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and N.C. House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, has been too close call. According to a recent Elon University poll, 52 percent of women are in favor of Hagan retaining her seat in the U.S. Senate, while 33 percent of women support Tillis’ bid instead. The male breakdown is almost a mirror image, with 50 percent of men supporting Tillis and 38 percent supporting Hagan.

Unmarried women in particular have become a major target of the Kay Hagan campaign. Jessice Jones from WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio, reports:

Planned Parenthood is spending $3 million dollars to get out the vote in North Carolina. And other groups, including the Democratic National Committee, are especially focused on unmarried women in this midterm election year. Unmarried women skew Democratic. And they’re typically more concerned about issues like education and reproductive rights. [They] are 27 percent of the eligible voting population. When unmarried women go to the polls, they have the power to determine an election.

While notably North Carolina is also one of the states with brand-new strict voter registration laws, it looks like we won’t have to deal with those quite yet. Check out this breaking news, from ABC, Court Blocks Part of New North Carolina Voting Law.


– Caterina Gironda, Southern Editor

Credits: Photo from Indiana Historical Society, League of Women Voters, voting booth.


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