“African American early voting is way down in North Carolina. Why is that?”


In the 58 counties that have been plagued by neither flooding nor locked polling place doors (Unimpaired Counties) African Americans are voting at 91% of their 2012 rate – not great, but a definite improvement over the statewide rate of just 82%. By contrast, among the 32 counties for which federal disaster declarations are in effect, that rate drops substantially to just 79%. But the man-made disaster of voter suppression proves to be the most potent force of all, depressing the African American voting rate to a mere 72% of 2012’s performance. Interestingly, flooding and voter suppression aren’t additive: among the 7 counties doubly cursed by both, voting action is again 72%. Actually, that makes sense: if there’s no open polling place within a reasonable distance, it hardly matters whether or not a voter is surrounded by water.

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