Super PAC hoping Amish voters will make election day a GOP barn raiser

Bryan Llenas reports


The Amish could be trading their buggies for rides in cars Tuesday, as a political action committee is seeking drivers to get them to the polls.

A pro-Trump poliitical action committee has been trying to mobilize the reclusive group for the election, and in a battleground state like Pennsylvania, they could form a legitimate voting bloc. Amish PAC is hoping some of the state's 69,000 adherents will cast ballots - if they can get to the polls.

"I wanted to let you know that Amish PAC has 200 (non-Amish) volunteers scheduled to door-knock every single Amish registered voter in Pennsylvania's Amish country (Lancaster) tomorrow and offer rides to polling places," said Ben Walters, of the Super PAC. "That has never been done before."

Fox News previously reported on the move to get the Amish involved in the presidential race, which has so far featured billboards and newspaper ads.

The new wrinkle is a get-out-the-Amish-vote effort, with a call for motorists to help.  

“Amish PAC needs volunteers to help drive Amish voters to the polls in Pennsylvania,” reads the top of the volunteer section of the PAC’s website. “In addition, if you have any Amish friends or neighbors and would like to give them a ride to the polls on Election Day, Amish PAC will provide you with a prepaid gas card until we run out.”

The political action group, which was started by a former fundraiser for a Ben Carson super PAC, has gone the traditional route, raising a modest $100,000 and spending it on billboards and newspaper ads in a time when most money is being spent on social media and online ads.

“Newspaper ads and billboards in the middle of farmland don’t cost very much,” Walters recently told USA Today.

Many conservative activists believe that the Amish vote is enough to swing the pendulum towards a Trump win.

A similar grassroots push to the Amish communities of Pennsylvania and Ohio in 2004 provided a bump in registered Amish voters from 2000. One such example was in Lancaster County, where only 960 Amish and Mennonites were registered and just over 500 voted. Four years later, more than 2,000 were registered and a record number for the county voted with 1,674 ballots casted.

Amish PAC is hoping that there will be an even bigger bump that will help sway electoral votes in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Many assume that the Amish are not allowed to vote, and while they are exempt from paying some taxes and do not receive government benefits like disability or social security, they can vote.

With Clinton and Trump close in the polls in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, Walters believes that the Amish vote is crucial, according to a recent interview with the BBC.

"These two states being the most important, crucial swing states. … We realize that a couple thousand votes could truly make a difference, especially if we have a situation like we did in 2000 where it comes down to a few polling places in one swing state," Walters said to the website, referring to the election recount in Florida back in 2000.

"The Amish could, in theory, swing the presidential election of 2016."