Black Voters Outvoted Whites in the 2012 Election: What's Next?

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A new study released by the Census Bureau revealed that African-Americans voted at a higher rate in the 2012 Presidential Election than any other race. This is the first time that African-Americans outvoted Whites in an election since 1996, when the Census Bureau started collecting voting data.

The Census Bureau released the study, “The Diversifying Electorate-Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections)”, in May. The study examined voting rates overall, by race and by age. It analyzed data from the November 2012 Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement, which surveyed eligible voter population in the United States. Therefore the information is not an accurate portrayal of the every vote, but rather a survey.

The study concluded that blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show a significant increase between the 2008 and 2012 elections, from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent respectively. This is a compliment to the trend, since 1996, that African-Americans have continued to vote at a greater percentage with each election.

Although African-Americans outvoted Whites nationally, this is not true in particular pockets of the United States, which include Mountain and Pacific regions. The study also concluded women outvoted males in all races, on average four percent. Most notably in the African-American Community, with Black women voting more often than Black men at 9 percent in 2012.

According to, “A changing American: In 2012, blacks outvoted Whites” by Susan Page and Paul Overberg for USA Today, the large percentage of the African-American vote is what experts state the cause for President Barack Obama’s win. "And it's pretty clear that black turnout made a huge difference," William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, said. Frey’s analysis of voting data shows that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have won or tied Obama in the popular vote if groups had turned out at the same rates they did in 2004.

The information concluded by the study is important progress for our community, but the survey leaves an open-ended question, what will happen in the 2014 Congressional Elections, where African-American voters consistently vote at a lesser rate, and in 2016 when President Barack Obama is not the Presidential Candidate?

The facts are all voters, including African-Americans, turn out less for Congressional Elections. However, it is important for our community to ignore the trend. In 2014, Voter ID Laws that Republican Congressmen tried to push for in the 2012 election will be in affect. Therefore making it more difficult for African-Americans to vote. Concludingly, if we don’t vote, and don’t put in Congress people that support the President we voted for, he can’t be the President he promised to be. Whether our community shows up in 2014 for our President is left to be told.

Contritely, the 2016 Presidential Election turnout is more difficult to predict because the trend of greater African-American turnout was in place before Barack Obama took office. However, it wasn’t at election altering potential until Obama came into power. The African-American turnout cannot be known until after November 2016, however, presidential candidates should realize the effects African-Americans have on elections and do something to secure their vote.

Tatiana M. Brown is a native of Washington, D.C. who is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Follow her @TatianaMBrown or check out her website, or contact her at

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