Percentage of Young Voters by Race in Presidential Elections

Percentage of Young Voters by Race in Presidential Elections

As the chart above shows, a remarkable and hopeful trend within the youth vote is the rise of the black youth vote.  In 2008, a greater share (63.9%) of black citizens under 30 overcame the unnecessary hurdles of registration than any other youth demographic, and a record 58% voted – the highest youth turnout rate in history.  Even in the low-turnout midterm elections of 2010, African American youth led their white, Asian and Latino peers to the polls.

This tale of progress is not irreversible, however. Imposing strict photo identification requirements could, according to a new report from the Black Youth Project, lead to the demobilization of anywhere from 9 to 25 percent of young voters of color in this election. That distortion of our democracy is a high price to pay to prevent the lightning-strike that is in-person voter fraud. At best, it’s a cynical move by elected politicians to keep citizens from voting them out. At worst, it’s a desperate reaction to the demographic evolution that threatens to make a party without multiracial appeal into an historical artifact.