A Tentative Slight Decline in North Carolina’s African-American Early Vote

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(Gabriela Bhaskar/Reuters)

So far, more than 3.4 million North Carolinians have voted early — that is 46.5 percent of the state’s 7.3 million eligible voters.

Among those who have voted so far, a bit more than 1.3 million are registered Democrats, or 39.7 percent, and a bit more than 1 million are registered Republicans, or 30.5 percent. Among those who have cast ballots so far, 66.9 percent are white, 20.31 percent are black, and 12.7 percent are “other.” State figures indicate 52 percent are female, 40 percent are male, and the remaining 6.9 percent are listed as “undesignated.”

The current figures suggest a modest drop-off among black turnout in the Tarheel State, compared with four years ago:

As of mid-Sunday, the latest figures released by the N.C. State Board of Elections show African-American early voting turnout in 2016 was still 67,000 votes shy of levels reached in 2012, when President Obama ran for a second term. Black voters represent 22.3 percent of early voters this year, compared to 27.4 percent four years ago. African Americans are 22.2 percent of North Carolina’s registered voters.

But it’s possible that in the last four days of early in-person voting, this year’s black early vote will match or exceed the number from last cycle. According to the Institute for Southern Studies review of state data, 754,621 blacks voted early in North Carolina in 2016. So far, 693,062 blacks have voted early in North Carolina — a bit more than 91 percent of the total last cycle.

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