Nones could sway Election Day

This election could be a flashpoint in American history in which secular voters finally eclipse major religious groups in terms of turnout and influence.

More than 26 million voters with no religion could turn out on Nov. 8, dwarfing previous records and providing the power to sway the direction of the country for the first time, according to a new analysis of data on religious affiliation and voting by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

The ranks of atheists, agnostics and those with no religious affiliation — “the Nones” — have increased by 19 million since Barack Obama was first elected president, making us the fastest-growing “religious” group in America. In 2004, the Nones comprised just 16 percent of all American adults but have now grown to a represent a quarter of all adults and a third of millennials.

Despite our size, the Nones have been underrepresented at the ballot box. Religiously unaffiliated voters comprised just 12 percent of all voters in the last presidential election, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. Our voter participation is set to spike next week. Combined, more than 26 million Nones are projected to vote for the major party candidates this November, dwarfing the 15 million who turned out during the 2012 election. FFRF members are laudably an exception — 96 percent are registered voters, far higher than the general population.

The next president will have the power to determine the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation, which has great impact for our secular society. Secular citizens also care about issues such as climate change, reproductive rights and, of course, keeping religion out of government. We are very independent-minded, educated and politically active.

Earlier this year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation launched a campaign to mobilize voters across the country through national TV, billboard and bus campaign ads, featuring young millennial voters.

Secular voters are the true voice of The Enlightenment. And in this election, we could very well be the voting bloc that is the determining factor. Please vote!

For more, read FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor’s piece in Newsday.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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