Black Voter Turnout Rate Surpassed White Voters for First Time in 2012

Friday, May 10, 2013
Waiting to vote in Florida

African-Americans reached another political milestone for the second consecutive presidential election. In 2008, they helped elect the first-ever black president, and last year, voter turnout for blacks surpassed that of whites for the first time in U.S. history.


About 66% of eligible blacks voted in the 2012 election, compared with 64% of eligible whites. Blacks overtook whites because 1.8 million more African-Americans voted in 2012 than 2008, while the number of white voters dropped by two million, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.


Last year, African-Americans overwhelmingly voted for President Barack Obama, with 93% supporting his reelection.


Their determination to keep him in office was partly why black turnout increased. Another motivation came from a desire to oppose Republican efforts to expand voter-ID requirements and impose other new rules on voting that were seen by critics as attempts to hamper those constituencies that tend to favor Democratic candidates.


“We are accustomed to people trying to deny us things, and I think sometimes you wake the sleeping giant, and that’s what happened here,” Marvin Randolph, the NAACP’s senior vice president for campaigns, told The New York Times.


The increase in black voter turnout was also fueled in significant part by more votes from black women.


The survey showed that some voting trends remain unchanged, such as that Hispanics and Asians continue to turn out at much lower rates than other groups, and that women turn out at higher rates than men.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

For First Time on Record, Black Voting Rate Outpaced Rate for Whites in 2012 (by Sarah Wheaton, New York Times)

Census: Blacks Voted at Higher Rates than Whites in 2012 (by Dan Balz and Ted Mellnik, Washington Post)

Census Report on 2012 Voter Turnout by Race (U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

Limiting Voters in Florida…Long Lines and Signatures of Stroke Victims (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Former Republican Officials Admit to Voter Suppression Efforts and “Marketing Ploy” to Damage Democrats (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Qualified Latinos Trail other Groups in Actually Voting (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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