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Black Voter Turnout Dropped Significantly in 2022 Midterms

Black Voter Turnout Dropped Significantly in 2022 Midterms

The sharpest decrease sharpest decrease in 2022 voter turnout was among young and Black voters.

Midterm election turnout has dropped from historic highs, with the sharpest decrease among young and Black voters.

According to Washington Post analysis of Census Bureau data, Black voter turnout dropped by almost 10 percent between 2018 and 2022, from 51.7 percent to 42 percent. White voter turnout fell by only 1.5 percent.

Turnout among young voters dropped by 6.5 percent, from 32 percent in 2018 to 26 in 2022, but was still significantly higher than turnout in the previous two decades. Turnout among college students specifically dropped by 5.7 percent.

Black college graduate turnout dropped from 73 percent to 60 percent. Turnout among Hispanic and White voters only dropped by nine and four points, respectively.

While voter turnout in midterm elections is typically significantly lower than that in presidential elections, experts say the drop is still alarming. According to data from Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Black registered voters identify as Democrats, compared to 6 percent who vote Republican, which has the potential to influence elections in battleground states.

According to Michael McDonald, turnout expert at the University of Florida, the lower turnout “likely cost the Democrats the Wisconsin Senate seat and could have made some other races much closer than what they appeared to be, for example Florida."

While the report did not cite a reason behind the drop in turnout, many Republican states have pushed voter identification laws and cracked down on mail in voting, policies that directly affect Black and Democratic voters.

Pew Research also found that 52 percent of all eligible Black voters reside in just eight states — Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York, California, North Carolina, Maryland, and Illinois — many of which are swing states.

The biggest priorities for Democratic voters are abortion, healthcare, and protecting Democracy, according to a separate Pew poll taken before the 2022 midterm elections. The same poll found that Republicans and Democrats were equally motivated to vote before the elections, with the majority of each party saying they were “extremely” or “very” motivated to vote.

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