Amish PAC aims to win more votes for Trump in 2020 in a state both the president and the Democrats are desperate to win. Amish people tend to align strongly on policy with Republicans, who share their opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. But making voters out of the Amish, who forgo technology like television and the Internet and who believe fiercely in the separation of their religious community from government intrusion, may be a steep goal.
On a farm where eight Amish children in their traditional clothing were playing baseball, a young woman said sternly of those who would ask the Amish to vote: “We don’t really appreciate that.”
While she skillfully snapped lima bean pods off the bushes at her farm, another woman said about voting: “My husband never did; I never did.”
The same answer at market stall after market stall, where Amish farmers sell their wares: Never voted. Never wanted to vote.
But Ben Walters, who co-founded Amish PAC, says the tide is turning. He heard from more Amish people willing to vote in 2018 than in 2016; in 2020, he thinks, the numbers will be still higher. “Their votes would be so important, and there’s a lot of them,” he said. “Since 2016, every single year, it gets a little bit easier. We’re seeing more and more signs of progress. I think behaviors are finally changing”…
At Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Kyle Kopko and Steven Nolt — two of the foremost experts on the Amish — are studying the results of the PAC’s efforts. Nolt said he is skeptical the PAC can make much of a dent. “For a group like the Amish PAC, the key is — to what extent could a group like Amish PAC take that civic identity that’s here, and leverage that into registering to vote and actually voting?” he said. “There’s not a prohibition, [but] there would be a fairly strong, strong religious and cultural bias against [voting.]”
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Steven Nolt probably knows more about the Amish than anyone else alive. If he thinks that this effort will not “make much of a dent” it is likely that this effort will not make much of a dent.