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Planned Parenthood Launches Voter Registration Campaign

Planned Parenthood will begin a nonpartisan campaign to register voters to help marginalized populations participate more in this election cycle.
Image: Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center in Austin
Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen in Austin, Texas on June 27, 2016.ILANA PANICH-LINSMAN / Reuters

Planned Parenthood will begin a nonpartisan campaign to register voters at its clinics, on college campuses and online to help marginalized populations participate more in this election cycle, the women’s health provider announced to the Huffington Post Friday.

The voter registration campaign titled “My Vote, My Voice” will have volunteers in 45 states set up tables outside of Planned Parenthood clinics and other spots in communities to educate people about their state’s voter ID laws while helping them register to vote. Two weeks before the general election, volunteers will also remind people to vote.

Related: Could Voting Restrictions Be Trump's Ace in the Hole?

“If we can’t all participate in our government, we all get cheated,” said Anna Keene, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, to the Huffington Post. “We’re launching the ‘My Vote, My Voice’ campaign to help ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted in communities across the country. No matter what your political beliefs are, if you don’t or can’t vote, then you can’t elect officials who will keep your best interests in mind.”

Planned Parenthood also announced the campaign in tangent with the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which was designed to break down legal barriers for African-American voters.

In 2013 the Supreme Court weakened the VRA in the case Shelby County v. Holder by striking down the requirement for local and state governments with a history of voter discrimination to receive federal approval before changing their voting procedures. Since then, civil rights advocates have been concerned that voters of color, students or those with low-income backgrounds will be more at risk of voter discrimination. Efforts to restore the VRA have been stagnant in the Republican-held Congress.

Related: The Fight to Strengthen Voting Rights Act Is Not Over Yet

But Planned Parenthood’s campaign may be able to reach out to such disenfranchised voters, considering the organization works with more than 2.5 million patients a year, typically women from low-income backgrounds and/or who are people of color. In fact, 78 percent of Planned Parenthood patients earn incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, the organization reported in July 2015. A quarter of its patients are Latino, Planned Parenthood reports.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, a nonpartisan extension of the health care provider, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in January. It was the first time the organization has endorsed during a presidential primary, and it plans to spend at least $20 million during the 2016 election.

Clinton and other Democrats have historically advocated for the organization, most recently when it was under fire from Republicans last summer amid efforts to defund the organization from federal grants.

In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll, Clinton held a strong lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump among women voters with 51 percent support compared to 35 percent for Trump. Among all non-white voters, 69 percent supported Clinton, while 17 percent supported Trump. Young voters also favored Clinton more, with 46 percent supporting her and 34 percent supporting Trump.

This article has been updated to distinguish between Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund