In 2012, Black’s in Iowa showed up to the polls to vote. Obama was running for reelection vs Mitt Romney. Obama was the first Black president, and for the first time in America showed Blacks the way to a better life did not have to be through sports or rap. Iowa is a generally forgotten state, and the people in it are a majority white. As a result those Blacks in Iowa tend to be underrepresented and overlooked in politics. By looking at voter turnout, we can see the groups under-representation in politics. This is important as Black people are treated poorly in America and states such as Iowa do not have large populations of Blacks. We shall take a look at many issues regarding Black voter suppression and trends of voting.
Felony Disenfranchisement is an issue throughout America including Iowa. In Iowa, if you ever committed a felony you can’t vote unless you seek an individual petition. Blacks are disproportionately convicted of felonies, and as a result the number of Blacks in Iowa with voting rights is below the national average.
68% of Blacks voted in the 2012 election which was a record high in Iowa. Following the 2012 election high Black voter turnout was expected to be commonplace again in 2016. However this was not true as only 52.8% of eligible blacks in Iowa voted.
Iowa has passed legislation to limit the number of early polling places open on Sunday’s. This is a direct attack on the Black vote, as 34.9% of Black voters vote at there church on a Sunday prior to election day. On the other hand only 14.3% of Whites vote at early polling places on Sunday.
The 2016 election was projected to be decided by how Hillary would appeal to minorities. Ellison writes, that while people think Hillary needs to connect with minorities she instead should attempt to connect with Whites as they will be the game changer. The 2016 election results should not be blamed on Blacks as they were predicted to not vote in the election since they saw no similarities to either candidates.
After a decent amount of research I began to realize that while lots of legislation in Iowa was passed to limit Black voting it did not necessarily affect the 2016 election. By looking at data from states that had not introduced voter suppression legislation such as California, the same trend was seen. Blacks simply did not show up to the polls in the record numbers they did in the 2012 election. California had a Black voter turnout of 62% in 2012, but in 2016 only 49% voted in the presidential election. This trend was found to be commonplace across the United States. Obama offered Hope for Blacks in Iowa, and that was the driving force that group needed to get to the polls. Obama proved to America that no matter where you come from you can become successful. In 2016 Blacks saw Trump run on an anti Obama “wave” and Hillary simply was not seen as an extension of Obama’s hope. As a result the real difference maker between the 2012 and 2016 election for Black voters in Iowa was they simply had no connection to either politician.
“News and Views: Felony Disenfranchisement Removes 1.4 Million Black Men From the Voting Polls.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, no. 22, BruCon Publishing Company, p. 61, http://search.proquest.com/docview/195564705/.
Krogstad, Jens Manuel, and Mark Hugo Lopez. “Black Voter Turnout Fell in 2016 US Election.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 12 May 2017, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/12/black-voter-turnout-fell-in-2016-even-as-a-record-number-of-americans-cast-ballots/.
Curry, George. “The Plot to Dilute the Black Vote.” Washington Informer, vol. 47, no. 1, Washington Informer, p. 21,37, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1034894794/.
Chavis, Benjamin. “Stand Up for Voting Rights.” Washington Informer, vol. 47, no. 9, Washington Informer, p. 22,38, http://search.proquest.com/docview/921580647/.
Ellison, Charles. “Black Voter Turnout Is Crucial and Not What It Seems.” Philadelphia Tribune, vol. 15, no. 52, Philadelphia Tribune, p. 4A, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1841294291/.