African-Americans voted this year at a higher rate than other minorities and may have topped the rate for whites for the first time, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
Blacks make up 12 percent of all eligible voters but contributed 13 percent of the votes in the presidential election — duplicating their record turnout in 2008, according to exit polls analyzed in the study. Latinos, whose turnout reached a historic high in actual number, made up 10 percent of the total.
Before the election, many strategists predicted black turnout could be disproportionately harmed by new Republican-backed state laws that required photo identification, reduced early voting hours and curtailed voter registration drives.
Instead, Democratic and civil rights groups used the threat of “voter suppression” to rally blacks.
The report also credits Obama’s candidacy as “one of the main reasons” for blacks’ strong turnout.
I expect Shelby County litigants to discuss this fact in considering the continued constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.