www.OutVote2000.org Launched, Urging Gays and Lesbians to Come Out And Into The Voting Booth

Ellen and Betty Degeneres, Barney Frank Add Voices to the Cause

Denver, Colorado—-”Come out and into the voting booth” is the rallying cry of a major nonpartisan effort urging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to vote. A major component of the campaign is a new website, www.outvote2000.org, which is a central resource for LGBT voters to learn about issues, candidates, absentee or early voting rules,

polling locations and times, and most importantly to send e-postcards to encourage others to vote and to set email reminders for themselves and their friends to vote.

OutVote2000 is a nonpartisan project of the Denver-based Gill Operating Foundation that provides training and technical assistance and helps build the capacity of LGBT nonprofits nationwide.

“OutVote2000.org will mobilize gay voters to claim their rightful voice and power in the voting booth, proving that our individual voices do matter, and our votes will make a difference,” said Katherine Pease, executive director of the Gill Operating Foundation.

One of the powerful advertising images being used in the campaign reads: “Matthew Shepard, Arthur ‘JR’ Warren, Brandon Teena, and Tyra Hunter can’t vote. We can. We can pay tribute by remembering the power each of us has to change the future.” Each of the people listed was murdered because of their sexual orientation. The advertisements call on LGBT people and their friends and families to vote.

Ellen Degeneres and her mother Betty lend humor—and their voices—to the project in a special recording that can soon be heard on www.OutVote2000.org and emailed to friends to encourage them to vote. Congressman Barney Frank also lends his voice to the nonpartisan effort, encouraging gay people to vote, “as if their lives depended on it. Because it does.”

“We know that a common complaint among apathetic voters is that they don’t have enough unbiased information about the candidates. The web site www.OutVote2000.org provides one-stop shopping for voters seeking links to nonpartisan information about issues and candidates positions. Voters interested in gay issues have no excuse not to vote, not to be heard, not to make policy makers aware of our concerns,” said Pease.

In addition to the visibility effort to urge LGBT individuals to vote, OutVote2000 is conducting research to better document and understand LGBT voters and to do research into the extent to which friends and families consider candidates stands on LGBT issues when casting a vote. The research is being done in conjunction with Harris Interactive, one of the most reputable national public opinion research firms in the country, and the only one that asks respondents to self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“Our research indicates that about 6 percent of respondents to our surveys identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and that up to 40% of the respondents consistently say they have a family member or know someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” said David Krane of Harris Interactive.

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