Morial: Black Voter Turnout Differential is the Key in 2012

Morial: Black Voter Turnout Differential is the Key in 2012


African American voters in a number of key states hold the key to the outcome to the 2012 election — Marc Morial

This week the National Urban League released a report, The Hidden Swing Voters: The Impact of African-Americans in 2012 that puts focus on the historic power African American voters displayed in 2008 and perhaps beyond. The report examines the difference in Black voting participation in 2004 in 2008 and how 2012 will be all about differentials in turnout between Black and White will be key.

“It’s not only turnout it’s turnout differential… if the Black and white vote are down at the same time that’s the key,” National Urban League President Marc Morial pointed out.  He was asked by reporter’s what he believed the percentage of Black turnout might be.  “It’s July, We don’t know what the mood will be later…” Morial said.  “I wouldn’t venture to predict any of that.”

Morial also focused on the 31 states that suddenly introduced new voter ID laws after Republicans took over many statehouses two years after President Obama was elected.

After noting that an overwhelmingly record high percentage of Blacks voted in 2008, Morial was asked what he though the Black turnout might be this year with election day 108 days away.

“I think there is going to be a strong and robust trunout.  Predicting turnout is far more difficult than predicting the weather,” Morial said. “The African American community does not want to be taken for granted not only by candidates but also by those who cover candidates,” Morial said adding that the Black vote is not simply a box to be checked.

Though 95% of Black voters supported President Obama in 2008, Morial makes the point that the issue of who shows up and at what percentage will be decisive.  Morial added that the sudden emergence of voter ID laws and changes in voting requirements was the direct result of the power displayed at the voting booth in 2008 which was essential to President Obama’s victory.

Morial wants the Urban League report to send a clear loud message: That turnout makes a huge difference and that any glance at the 2008 results as compared to 2004 shows the strength and power of the Black vote.  The Urban League’s Occupy the Vote effort is focused on voter education and registration. 

“One of the purposes of the report is to inspire and initiate action,” Morial said.  Morial wants people on the ground to work even harder to get people registered to vote.

President Obama will speak to the Urban League next week at their convention in New Orleans.