Black Voter Turnout: How A Key Demographic Voted in 2020


Early Voting (Mail-in and In-Person) 

In mid-October, most states began the early voting period which saw massive turnout by voters. By the close of early voting, over 100 million Americans had already cast their votes. This was twice the amount of early votes cast in 2016 and 70% of the total voter turnout during the 2016 general election. 

A report by Vox News shows that about two-thirds of early votes were mailed in. That’s about 60 million ballots mailed and roughly 34.5 million in-person early votes.  

Data reported by the Associated Press show that Black voters came out during early voting, making up approximately 9% of all early votes.

In Georgia, one million Black voters cast their ballots during the early voting period. They made up approximately 30% of all early votes in the state.

TargetSmart reports a surge in Black voters aged 65 and older across the nation. Their early votes surpassed 2016 numbers in six key states including Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina, and Florida. 

A report by the Service Employees International Union shows that younger, less consistent Black voters make up a larger share of the overall Black vote than they did in 2016. This is a good sign for increased engagement in democratic processes.

Mail-in ballots counted in cities with higher Black populations, including Detroit and Philadelphia changed the presidential race.

Detroit's mail-ballots, cast primarily by Black voters, flipped the state in Democrat's favor.

Donald Trump had a lead in Pennsylvania by about 100,000 votes. As mail-in ballots in Philadelphia were processed, the lead shrunk significantly, ultimately putting president-elect Joe Biden in the lead and over the 270 electoral votes needed to seize the race.

Election Day Turnout 

Ballots are still being counted in some states, but what we know so far about Black voter turnout is that it's higher than 2016.

Over 144 million people voted in the 2020 general election. And ballots are still being counted. Of the ballots cast, early exit poll data shows that 87% Black voters voted for Biden, according to a report by NBC News.

Young, infrequent and first-time voters also increased their turnout this year as well according to an early analysis by the Associated Press.

Eighty-seven percent of Black youth around the country voted for Biden according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tuft's University.

Additional data reports by the New York Times show the overwhelming participation of Black people in the democratic process this year.

Black voter turnout in places like Clayton County, Georgia, cities in North Carolina, and across the midwest helped the Democratic ticket to the lead in electoral votes.

Photos: Getty Images 


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