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Data Shows Black Voter Turnout Decreased, Impacting 2022 Midterms 

Rep. Mandela Barnes speaking at a rally for fast food workers on strike on Wisconsin Avenue. April 11, 2012. Flickr/Joe Brusky.

While more data needs to be revealed, the New York Times (NYT) released data that turnout among African American voters fell across several states in the 2022 Midterms, impacting top races involving Black candidates.

The 2022 Midterms saw a larger turnout from many groups, most notably younger voters and Latinos who delivered Democrats big wins in states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona.

The NYT data shows that Black turnout was down across multiple states and likely resulted in Republican wins in Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Louisiana among others. Even in cities with large Black populations, such as Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Detroit (all of whom were crucial to Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election), the report shows turnout was lower than in the rest of their states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. 

The gap between Black voters and white voters—particularly in Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina—was the largest since the 2006 Midterm elections. Many attribute the depressed voter turnout in these states to the voter suppression laws there.

In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp defeated Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams by a much larger margin from their 2018 contest, over 298,000 votes compared to 54,000 votes four years ago. The voters in the state were older and whiter than in previous elections in Georgia. 

In the Wisconsin race for Senate, Black candidate and Democratic challenger, Mandela Barnes, only lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson by 26,000 votes. The challenge for Democratic candidates often in different races nationally or statewide is shoring up enough votes outside of their base in the urban, metropolitan areas. However, Barnes was able to do well outside of Milwaukee county to where, if voters in the area had voted, the vote difference could have likely been made up to give Barnes the victory. 

Furthermore, places like Florida and Texas, which have large populations of people of color, consistently have low turnout for elections including this midterm which fell below 2018 numbers. In both states, Republicans were able to have strong victories. 

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Florida Rep. Val Demmings, a Black woman who challenged incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio for the Senate lost by 16 percentage points and over 1.2 million votes. 

On Roland Martin Unfiltered, Florida political consultant Nikki Barnes spoke about what went wrong for the party and said there was no investment ground game for Democrats. 

“In Florida, what went wrong was not having a ground game,” she said.

She called out Florida Democratic Chair Manny Diaz about the lack of infrastructure to support the Florida candidates, Demings and Democrat Charlie Crist who unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Ron Desantis. 

“Val is an amazing candidate. It is not a candidate issue. It is a state-party infrastructure issue,” she said. 

In the upcoming Georgia Runoff Senate race, there has already been significant voter turnout with 1.8 million votes have been cast early— 38 percent of which are Black voters—according to data from the Secretary of State, Brad Rafensburger’s, office. 

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A large Black turnout delivered Warnock’s win in the 2021 Georgia Runoff race as they made up 28 percent of the electorate. Whether or not they can or will do it again will be determined in today’s runoff. 

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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