Black Voter Turnout Exceeded Other Minorities

Fueled by enthusiasm over re-electing the first Black president and outrage over voter ID laws, African-American voter turnout was high.

Posted: 12/28/2012 02:40 PM EST

African-American voters cast ballots in higher proportions than other minority groups, according to recently compiled data of voting patterns in this year’s presidential election.

A report by the Pew Research Center states that the Black turnout in the election was historic because it outpaced other minority groups for the first time, based on census data, exit poll information and election numbers from various cities and counties.

“Unlike other minority groups whose increasing electoral muscle has been driven mainly by population growth, blacks’ rising share of the vote in the past four presidential elections has been the result of rising turnout rates,” the Pew report states.

The report stated that there was high enthusiasm on the part of Black voters toward President Obama. But they also attributed the increase in voter turnout to the backlash from Black voters who were offended and outraged by the various voter identification laws in several states. These laws were widely criticized as methods to make it more difficult for Black and Latino voters to cast ballots.

“In fact, according to census data and the election day exit polls, blacks made up 12 percent of the eligible electorate this year but accounted for an estimated 13 percent of all votes cast — a repeat of the 2008 presidential election, when blacks 'over-performed' at the polls by the same ratio,” the report states.

“In all previous presidential elections for which there are reliable data, blacks had accounted for a smaller share of votes than eligible voters.”

The Pew Center also said that more Latino and Asian-American voters went to the polls in the 2012 election. However, the turnout rate continued to lag that of the overall general public by a substantial margin. The report said that the growth in Latino and Asian-American voting strength was due primarily to population growth.

Meanwhile, turnout by white voters has declined, with a lower proportion of voters in each of the last two presidential elections, the report said.

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 (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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