AFL-CIO Registers 450,000 Voters from Union Households

In the last 18 months, the AFL-CIO has registered more than 450,000 voters from union households nationwide.

That includes about 68,000 new voters in Ohio, site of a close Presidential and Senate race.

These numbers are taking the experts by surprise, according to the Associated Press:

“That’s an amazing number,” said Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University. “In an era of declining union membership, one wouldn’t think there would be many new targets out there.”

And we’ll bet our bottom dollar the number also has Mitt Romney and his anti-worker allies (hi, Ohio Gov. John Kasich!) spooked.

But what did they expect? The last two years have seen some of the harshest attacks in a 30-year war on workers’ rights, workers’ wages, and the laws that protect the right to collectively bargain. Union members, as well as their families and allies, have correctly recognized that the best way to fight back is at the ballot box:

“I think there is an enthusiasm among these voters, a feeling that unions are embattled these days,” said Beck, the political science professor. “Given what’s happened to unions since 2010, they may be more energized than normal to vote for a Democratic candidate.”

The massive registration effort began back in March 2011, when the stakes were becoming increasingly clear. Before you go thinking that this effort was a success in just more union-friendly states like Ohio, check out the numbers in other hotly contested states: 13,500 in Colorado, 10,000 in Nevada, and 6,700 in Virginia.

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