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Midterm election Black voter turnout slightly down from 2016

 

Despite the fact that voter turnout showed a significant increase during the 2018 midterm elections than in other midterms in the past 50 years, Black voters weren’t necessarily any more involved than usual.

Nationally speaking, the turnout of 49.2 percent was higher than some estimates prior to the election, and not since 1966 has a midterm election come so close to 50 percent engagement. But according to an analysis done by the Philadelphia Tribune of exit polls on Nov. 6, Black voters only made up approximately 11 percent of the electorate – which is actually a one percentage point drop from the 2016 presidential election.

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Given how former candidates like Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum seemed to galvanize Black communities across the nation, the finding was both surprising and disappointing since Black voter turnout was a key factor in a number of close races.

Political strategists and social justice advocates had hoped that Black voter engagement would be significant enough to offset unscrupulous partisan tactics such as voter suppression, and blatantly racist rhetoric meant to embolden white supremacists. Unfortunately, those efforts fell short.

“Turnout was high by traditional midterm standards,” said Peter Groff, an Obama 2008 campaign co-chairman. “But voting is not mandatory, it’s not necessarily convenient, and get-out-the-vote efforts are spotty and unreliable. To reach a consistent 75-80 percent or more will take statutory changes.”

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Groff said if Black turnout in Georgia and Mississippi had been higher, “the outcome could have been different,” but that African-Americans are used to focusing mainly on more competitive races such as presidential elections, “so it can ebb and flow just like other communities.”

After an extremely close and drawn out race in Georgia against Republican Brian Kemp, Friday, Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams ended her bid to be the nation’s first Black female governor. And to Groff’s point, Black people make up 32.3 percent of Georgia’s population, and could have made all the difference in helping her win that race with a higher turnout.

The post Midterm election Black voter turnout slightly down from 2016 appeared first on theGrio.

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