Voter Registrations Surge After Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Death
Ginsburg, who was appointed to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, died at the age of 87 last Friday, due to complications of metastatic cancer.
On the two days after Ginsburg's death, there was a total of 40,771 new voter registrations on Saturday and Sunday, a 68-percent increase from the prior weekend, according to Vote.org, a nonpartisan registration organization.
A representative for Vote.org tells PEOPLE it saw 35,288 vote-by-mail ballot requests this past Saturday and Sunday, a 42-percent increase from the prior weekend.
A sizable portion of the increase came on National Voter Registration Day, which fell on Sept. 22. On that day, Vote.org registered 135,000 new voters — double what the group saw in 2018.
Rock the Vote also saw record registration numbers this week, announcing that 200,000 people either submitted voter registration applications or confirmed their registration across the organization's platforms Tuesday.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt said she believed the spike could be partially attributed to Ginsburg's death. “I do think that the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has galvanized eligible voters, in particular, who understand the role of the Supreme Court and are concerned about the future of civil rights,” she said.
Vote.org said more than 62 percent of those registered over the last week were female, and most were between the ages of 25 and 34.
Ginsburg's death has resulted in a renewed urgency from both Democrats and Republicans. A tense political battle has unfolded in the days since her death as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle debate how to fill the now-vacant Supreme Court seat.
Hours after Ginsburg's death was made public, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP majority would vote on a new nominee put forth by President Donald Trump.
But Democratic politicians, led by presidential nominee Joe Biden, called out McConnell and Republicans for what they say is hypocrisy.
In 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia died, the Senate Majority Leader blocked President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, saying elected officials needed to wait until the next president took office. Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 election, while Ginsburg's death occurred just 45 days away from the 2020 presidential election.
Early voting is already underway in many states around the U.S. ahead of the Nov. 3 election and mail-in voting is expected to see a tremendous surge due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.