Early voting among the African-American community in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is down in North Carolina and Florida, both critical states for the Democrats – but one expert says he suspects this has to do with voter suppression.
When Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee for president in 2008 and 2012, the black communities in key states showed up in droves at early polls. This year, however, the numbers are not stacking up.
Early voting numbers in some states suggest Clinton’s challenge stems, at least in part, from underwhelming support from African-American voters, The Associated Press recently reported.
The numbers coming from North Carolina, for example, show a five percentage point drop in ballots from black voters compared to 2012.
Changes and challenged to voting access in some states, including North Carolina, might have something to do with the decreased numbers, Lusane said to The West Block’s Tom Clark.
“Around the country, Republican legislators have done all they could to make it more difficult, particularly for the black community and younger voters to have access to the polls,” Lusane said.
But it’s likely a temporary blip, he said, since polling that he and colleagues at Howard University have conducted indicate the percentage of black registered voters who say they will vote is “basically the same” as in 2008 and 2012.
“I expect by the end, the overall turnout for black voters will be pretty close to the last election,” he said
Further, despite a slow start, the bulk of those voters will likely end up casting ballots choosing Clinton for president, Lusane said.
President Obama has, over the past couple of months, made a number of appeals to black communities on Clinton’s behalf, once saying he would take is as a “personal insult” if they fail to turn out for the presidential election.
Last week, Obama offered an urgent message to North Carolina voters, telling them the fate of the republic rests on their shoulders.
With files from The Associated Press