Since the election, a lot of ink has been spilled about youth voter turnout, which increased about 8 percent compared to 2016. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the climate movement. The Sunrise Movement reached approximately 3.5 million unique young voters with their get-out-the-vote efforts during the 2020 general election. NextGen America, a group by billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, also dedicated $45 million to mobilizing youth turnout for Biden.
But not all climate-related get-out-the-vote efforts were focused on people under the age of 35. At least one of was focused on people who simply care about the environment, no matter their age. And that effort could have played a big role in flipping key states for Biden.
The Environmental Voter Project, a non-partisan get-out-the-vote group, tells HEATED it spent $2.05 million this year targeting 1.8 million self-identified environmentalists who had never voted before in 12 states, including the critical battlegrounds of Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Of those 1.8 million environmentalists targeted by Environmental Voter Project, more than 600,000—or about 33 percent—voted early. It’s “a truly astounding number when you consider that these are almost all first-time voters,” said Nathaniel Stinnett, EVP’s president.
It’s also astounding when you consider that, in many cases, those voters outnumber the margin between Trump and Biden in key battleground states.
- 54,976 new environmental voters cast early ballots in Pennsylvania, where Biden is leading by about 45,400 votes
- 56,990 new environmental voters cast early ballots in Arizona, where Biden is leading by 16,730 votes;
- 69,332 new environmental voters cast early ballots in Georgia, where Biden is leading by 11,596 votes; and
- 20,705 new environmental voters cast early ballots in Nevada, where Biden is leading by 36,186 votes.
Of course, these aren’t necessarily votes for Biden. EVP only encourages environmentalists to vote; it doesn’t say who they should vote for. But given the environmental hellscape of Trump’s presidency, it’s safe to assume many, if not most of those votes did not go in his direction.
In addition, these are only early vote numbers, and therefore only show part of EVP’s impact. The group will know its full impact in February or March when states release their final voter lists.