President Barack Obama is off the campaign trail and back in Washington leading the response to Hurricane Sandy. But out in the country, early voting continues, and the Obama campaign says African-Americans are taking full advantage.
A memo released Tuesday by the Obama campaign’s national field director, Jeremy Bird, details what the campaign calls an on-the-ground demonstration that “African-Americans are committed to doing everything they can to re-elect the president.”
TheGrio: Why black voters are fired up
The campaign memo states:
In the first two days of early voting in Florida, nearly a quarter (23.7 percent) of the electorate was African American. We’ve seen consistently strong turnout in predominately African American areas of Broward and Dade counties, with big crowds patiently waiting hours to cast their votes. Yesterday 1,200 people marched from Bethune Cookman University, an HBCU in Daytona Beach, to vote early.
The historically high turnout among African Americans in North Carolina four years ago was one of the reasons President Obama carried the state by just 14,000 votes. But what’s even more impressive is what’s happening this year: 83,155 more African Americans have already voted this year than had at this point in 2008. More African Americans age 24 and younger are voting this time than in 2008, and the same is true among African America voters between the ages of 25 and 34. In both cases, their share of votes is outpacing their share of the voting population.
The campaign says that African-American voter registration is up “dramatically” over 2008, including in crucial swing states like Colorado (up 20 percent), Iowa (13 percent), Florida (10 percent) and Nevada (12 percent). And the campaign hopes to press that advantage before November 6th, by turning out voters early in states that allow in person and absentee early voting.
The campaign claims that early voting by African-Americans is up by at least 17 percent in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina, all of which allow in-person early voting, and in Virginia, which allows only early absentee voting by mail.
The campaign also claims black voters have higher levels of enthusiasm for the election than voters in general.
Results in Ohio so far appear to bear out the Obama campaign’s optimism.
Despite the storm’s impact in the crucial swing state, where the storm knocked out power to 180,000 people and caused floods, down trees and other damage, Democrats report record turnout in African-American vote-rich areas like Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, and Franklin County, which includes Columbus. Those two counties have reportedly experienced strong turnout as of Monday, despite the early effects of the storm, which included cold, rainy conditions across the state. And the Cuyahoga County elections supervisor, in an interview with theGrio Sunday, reported higher early vote turnout in 2012 than in 2008.
Republicans are also touting a strong early vote turnout in Ohio, though hard numbers are not yet known.