BlackPAC
November 19, 2018

Massive Investment in Black Electorate Fuels Historic Midterm Turnout & Mobilization of Black Voters

NEW YORK — With Black voters turning out in historic numbers in Tuesday’s election despite rampant voter suppression efforts in several states, Black PAC today issued the following statement:

“These midterm elections proved once again that if you invest in communities of color and speak to issues they care about, Black voters will turn out in unprecedented numbers,” said Adrianne Shropshire, Executive Director of BlackPAC. “Throughout the nation, in districts small and large, these engagement efforts showed major dividends, with a historic Black midterm turnout nearing presidential levels in several states and far surpassing past midterm results.”

“The success of ballot initiatives like Missouri’s Proposition B on minimum wage, Nashville’s Amendment 1 on police oversight, Florida’s Amendment 4 on voting rights, and Louisiana’s Amendment 2 on jury reform suggest that voters want, and will vote for, progressive policies. With a historic surge in Black turnout both on Election Day and in early and absentee voting, Black voters made a huge difference in these midterm elections, despite major efforts to suppress their vote.”

“To win in 2020, it is clear that Democrats must come up with a plan to both battle voter suppression and inspire Black voters with policies that address the most important issues in their lives with candidates who demonstrate real political courage.”

Some noteworthy facts about Black turnout in this week’s midterm election include:

Early Voting and Absentee Voting (EVAV)

  • Nationally, Black turnout through early voting and absentee voting (EVAV) almost doubled from 2014.
  • In Tennessee statewide, Black EVAV went up by 431% from 2014.
  • In Georgia statewide, Black EVAV went up by 213% from 2014. In Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, it went up by even more: 273%.
  • In Florida statewide, Black EVAV went up by 192.5% from 2014.
  • In Ohio statewide, Black EVAV went up by 180.5% from 2014.  
  • In Illinois statewide, Black EVAV went up by 182.6%. In Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, it went up 244.2% from 2014.
  • In Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, Black EVAV went up by 339% from 2014.

Overall Turnout (estimates)

  • Black voter turnout historically averages 43% in Missouri in midterms. In BlackPAC target counties in Missouri with high densities of eligible Black voters, voter turnout was far higher this year: Jackson (67.3%); Kansas City (49.51%); St. Louis City (59.22%); St. Louis County (67.89%).
  • In target counties in Tennessee with high densities of eligible Black voters, voter turnout neared or surpassed 2016 presidential levels in Shelby County (188k to Clinton 208k); Davidson (171k to Clinton 148k); Knox (79k to Clinton 62k) and Hamilton (65k to Clinton 55k).
  • In target counties in Florida with high densities of eligible Black voters, voter turnout surpassed and, in some cases, doubled 2014 levels and neared 2016 presidential levels: Leon (Gillum 88k/Nelson 90k vs Clinton 92k in 2016, and Crist 43k in 2014); Alachua (Gillum 72k/Nelson 73k vs. Clinton 75k and Crist 65k); Duval (Gillum 196k/Nelson 191k vs. Clinton 205k and Crist 111k).
  • In target counties in Georgia with high densities of eligible Black voters, this week’s vote total (and still counting) reached presidential levels and doubled 2014 levels: Fulton (Abrams 303k; Nunn 171k; Carter 166k; Clinton 297k); Gwinnett (Abrams 174k; Nunn 86k; Carter 84k; Clinton 166k); DeKalb (Abrams 258k; Nunn 165k; Carter 161k; Clinton 251k);  Cobb (Abrams 167k; Nunn 90k; Carter 87k; Clinton 160k); Richmond (Augusta) (Abrams 47k; Nunn 30k; Carter 29k; Clinton 48k);  Chatham (Savannah) (Abrams 59k; Nunn 36k; Carter 34k; Clinton 62k); Muscogee (Columbus) (Abrams 38k; Nunn 24k; Carter 24k; Clinton 39k).  
  • In target counties in Indiana with high densities of eligible Black voters, this week’s vote approached 2016 presidential levels: Lake County (Donnelly 104k; Clinton 116k); Marion County (Donnelly 180k; Clinton 212k); Allen County (Donnelly 55k; Clinton 55k); St. Joseph County (Donnelly 53.8k; Clinton 52k).
  • In Nevada statewide, the Black share of the electorate went from 9 to 11 percent.

The Black Progressive Action Coalition (BPAC), an affiliated section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, was on the ground and at the doors as part of a vast mobilization drive in Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, Virginia, and Indiana with large and historically underrepresented Black voting populations. The $8 million program knocked on over 1.6 million doors; talked with nearly 600,000 Black voters; and trained and deployed 1,500 canvassers.  

Increased Black voter turnout also helped elect an historic number of women candidates, and progressives, including:

  • California: BlackPAC helped elect Katie Hill (CA-25) and support Governor-elect Gavin Newsom.
  • Virginia: BlackPAC ran mail and digital ads to help elect Elaine Luria (VA-2) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-7). In addition, BPAC ran in the state door-to-door canvass.  
  • Illinois: BlackPAC turned out voters to help elect Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and support Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker.
  • Georgia: BlackPAC supported Stacey Abrams’ run for governor (which it continues to monitor), as well as Lucy McBath’s successful Congressional candidacy in Georgia’s 6th district (and is closely monitoring the state’s 7th district result, as well). The share of absentee and early voting (AVEV) among Black voters in Georgia shot up 2.8 percent over 2016 presidential levels.
  • Nevada: BlackPAC invested $212,000 in a radio program, supporting Jacky Rosen’s victorious run for the senate.

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