Washington, DC – On Tuesday, Americans elected more female candidates to office than ever before. Across the country, voters selected women to represent them at every level of government, from local and state office to Washington, D.C.
“We could not be prouder to see so many women elected to public office this year,” said Chris Carson, President of the League of Women Voters. “This is an inspirational moment for women, and we will not stop until the number of women in elected office reflects the makeup of our communities.”
Americans are sending at least 117 women from both parties to Washington, including the first Muslim and Native American women ever elected to Congress, the first female Senators from Arizona and Tennessee, the first female African-American Congresswomen from New England, and the first Latina Congresswomen from Texas.
“It’s not just that women won big this year, but it’s how they ran and won,” said Virginia Kase, CEO of the League of Women Voters. “These are powerful, amazing women who ran strategic, smart campaigns, and they ran as their authentic selves. This year we saw women of all walks of life – women of color, veterans, doctors, mothers – who stood up and said it is our time to lead.”
The final voter count is not yet available, but the New York Times estimates 114 million votes were cast compared to 83 million in 2014. Voter engagement was also at historic highs, as the League’s voter information site, VOTE411.org, surpassed the number of users from the 2016 presidential election by more than a million voters.
"Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and this year voters had their voices heard,” said Carson. “All year long, League volunteers worked hard registering more voters than ever before and reaching out to more candidates in order to provide voters with the information they needed to cast their ballots. Our work is never done, but we are so encouraged by the turnout and renewed enthusiasm across the country for our elections.”
While more women than ever before will serve in Congress, there is a long way to go before women will reflect the full population of the country. Women make up 52% of the electorate, but in the 116th Congress they will still represent less than a quarter of all Senators and Representatives. At the state level, at least nine women were elected Governor Tuesday night.
"We believe the 2018 elections will inspire future generations of women to run for office, because now more women can see themselves in these positions of power,” said Kase. “For now, we hope these newly elected officials will stand up and represent the American people and set a new tone for our country.”
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