WASHINGTON - The midterm elections resulted in increased racial and ethnic minority diversity in the U.S. Congress, including expanded African American representation in the House and the election of increased minority representation from both political parties. Sadly, the new Congress will be without any African Americans in the U.S. Senate, although there will be a newly elected Hispanic Senator, Mario Rubio, from Florida.
In several key states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, African American voter turnout was higher than in 2006.
“This increased mid-term election turnout, is a testimony to the power of consistent community based organizing and the dedication of tens-of- thousands of grassroots volunteers. Even in a mid-term election, when voter turnout typically falls approximately 40%, African American voter turnout in a number of states increased significantly. It augurs an even more intense push in 2010,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.
“Most importantly we will use the clout of our civic engagement to usher our non-partisan agenda forward and hold elected leaders accountable to move our nation forward. There is no doubt that the success of the NAACP and other civil rights and civic engagement organizations in breaking down the barriers for people of color to successfully seek elected office, has increased the diversity of representation of both political parties. We will continue to strive even harder for expansion and inclusion of our ever growing diverse electorate to fully participate in our sacredly held democratic political process,” Jealous said.
The NAACP, which has over 1,200 local membership units throughout the country, launched a nationwide comprehensive get-out-the-vote effort that resulted in significantly increased voter turnout throughout a number of key states. It included on air appeals from black radio, robo calls from NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, human rights activist Shirley Sherrod, award winning actor Blair Underwood and other NAACP officials, along with the tried-and-proven, extensive grassroots organizing and outreach strategies.
Preliminary voter participation reports from New York Times/ABC data from 2006 and 2010 demonstrate the following voter turnout data for African American voters:
· From the State of Texas in 2006, African Americans were 8 percent of voters; this increased in 2010, to 13 percent.
· Participation of African American voters in Ohio in 2006, was 12 percent; this increased to 14 percent in 2010.
· Participation of African American voters in New York in 2006, was 10 percent; this increased to 18% in 2010.
· And in the State of Pennsylvania, the 2006 turnout was 8 percent increasing in 2010 to 9 percent.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.