Black membership in U.S. House increases; Black voter turnout grows in key states

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,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

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.”

“Most importantly, we will use the clout of our civic engagement to usher our nonpartisan 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,” Jealous said.

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 eight 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 percent in 2010.

• And in the state of Pennsylvania, the 2006 turnout was eight percent, increasing in 2010 to nine percent.

— From an NAACP press release