Whites and African-Americans voting rate gap closed in Pa., N.J. in 2012

The Census Bureay says African-American voting rates surpassed white voting rates in the 2012 elections. A new report from the Census called “The Diversifying Electorate,” finds that in New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, blacks narrowly surpassed voting rates of whites as a percentage of the eligible voting population. The results were within the margin of error — so we can’t know for sure. 

But the Pennsylvania NAACP’s John Jordan asserts that he has seen noticeable growth over the years he’s worked to get out the vote.


“I think it really wakes people up when they know what’s truly going on,” Jordan said. “And an educated voter is […] a voter to be reckoned with.”

Jordan believes fights over voter ID laws in Pennsylvania and elsewhere galvanized African-Americans in 2012.

Voting rates for Hispanics and Asian-Americans have grown more slowly across the nation, according to Census Bureau demographer Thom File.

“The Hispanic trend has grown since 1996 but it has not been as large as the black growth,” he said.

In New Jersey, where the number of Hispanic voters did tick up slightly but the demographic still punched below its weight, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden) says more voter education is needed.

“We have to have this hunger of being part of the electoral process,” said Fuentes.

The impact felt last year could get bigger. Hispanics make up the largest share of U.S. population growth, though slightly younger and with fewer citizens.

Last week, the a Brookings scholar released his own analysis for the Associated Press, estimating that if ethnicities had voted at historical rates in swing states such as Ohio and Florida, Mitt Romney could have eked out a victory over Barack Obama.

The report did not analyze how having an African-American president on the ballot affected turnout.

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