On Monday night, the first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump set the tone for the next month and a half of the presidential race. It also reinforced what has become apparent over the past year of the presidential race: This contest has the potential to be the most important ballot many Americans have, or will, cast in their lifetimes. So today, on National Voter Registration Day, W magazine and 54 peer publications are teaming up with #OurVoteCounts, a nonpartisan voter registration initiative collaborating with Rock the Vote. It's crucial — ever year, but perhaps this year most of all — that women cast their vote in the forthcoming election, because it promises to be such a significant one for women, regardless of the side of the aisle on which you stand.
Across the board, 64 percent of eligible women in the United States voted in the 2012 election, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. But out of that number, just 45 percent of eligible women between the ages of 18 and 24 cast their vote; for many of us, the 2012 election was our first experience in the voting booth, yet Millennial women turn out in substantially smaller numbers than our older peers — even though it's this youngest group of voters who will be affected in the longest term by the outcome of the election.
So it's essential that women of all ages engage with this election cycle, and it's for that reason that we're pledging to help register at least 100,000 new voters by November 8, along with other publications like Vogue and Glamour magazines, The Cut, Jezebel, and Lenny. #OurVoteCounts transcends race; it transcends age; it transcends geography, party alliance, interests, and faith; because the significance of this election transcends those identities, too.
Over the next month and a half, editors from across these publications will embark on bus tours of critical election sites, helping to register voters along the way. And they'll continue to cover the #OurVoteCounts initiative — starting here — and educate potential voters across our channels about a range of the election issues that matter most to them. Most importantly, they'll partner with Rock the Vote to register voters, particularly women, online.
The debate Monday night was beginning of the last push towards the November elections. This election has the potential to be one of the most meaningful for American women in a number of ways: Not only is the first female candidate for a major party on the ballot, but the discourse around both campaigns has focused on issues of women's health and reproductive rights and gender equality in the workplace. Regardless of party affiliation, it's essential that every woman casts a vote come November. Our vote really does count.