U.S. CENSUS REPORT REVEALS
YOUNG BLACK VOTERS HAD THE HIGHEST INCREASE IN
TURNOUT IN THE 2008 ELECTION
Black Youth Vote! members lead students to the polls in Prairie View Texas in 2008 election.by Edrea Davis
Washington DC, July 20, 2009 – Two million more black voters cast a ballot in the 2008 election than in 2004; and, young black voters had the highest increase in turnout among all groups, a U.S. Census Bureau report released today revealed.
“We knew black youth influenced the outcome of the election and will do so for years to come,” said Melanie L. Campbell, executive director and CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “Today’s Census report backs up our findings.”
Although voter turnout among some groups decreased or remained the same in 2008, according to the Census tables, overall 18 to 24 year-old turnout saw a two percent increase over 2004, reaching 49 percent. However, 18- to 24-year-old black voters turned out at 55 percent, an eight percent increase from 2004.
“We did the traditional outreach at events and beauty salons, but we also used new technology and enlisted the help of celebrities like rapper Bow Wow and the comedian Shang, to reach out to young voters,” said Campbell. “We also registered new voters online and used email and text messaging to contact young voters and make sure they voted early.”
“By combining old-school civic engagement tactics with new school technology we surpassed our goals. An eight percent increase in participation among 18-24 year-olds demonstrated the power of that demographic and will definitely go down in history,” said Richard Womack, Sr. chair of The National Coalition.
Founded in 1976, The National Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society. The current programs of the organization include Black Women’s Roundtable and a new young adult community service initiative. For more information visit www.ncbcp.org.