This week, we've taken you on a voting rights tour of America to states where the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County Vs. Holder has changed voting laws. Along the way, we've talked to reporters in North Carolina, Florida and Texas about statewide election law changes.
We reached out to the attorneys generals and governors in each of these states, but they all declined to participate in the series or did not respond to our requests for comment.
However, in June we talked to the Solicitor General of of Alabama, John Neiman. He wrote an amicus brief in support of Shelby County. He says that the Supreme Court's ruling was a message to Congress.
"The message to congress was, look, if you think it's sufficiently important to distinguish between states in this way, you need to come up with a formula that accounts for current realities," said Neiman.
What are the current realities? For that we turn to the data. Dante Chinni is the director of the American Communities Project (ACP) at American University. He crunched the numbers on voter turnout in North Carolina, Florida, and Texas during the 2012 election.
Below is an interactive breakdown of the 2012 over-18 voter turnout population, and registered voter turnout by ACP county type for North Carolina, Texas and Florida. The data provided by Florida is not exact (listen to the audio segment for a detailed explanation).
Chinni says that in Texas, which was uncontested in 2012, African American and Hispanic voter turnout was lower than North Carolina and Florida. He hypothesizes that in uncontested states there is less voter education from activists on the ground bringing out the voters.
In Hispanic and minority counties in Texas, voter turnout is very low. But in Hispanic counties in Florida, it's higher because there was a massive get to the vote effort. The data also shows that voter turnout is much higher in Exurbs like Shelby County, where there has been a lot of change over the last 20 or 30 years. They are rapidly growing and sought after by both parties.
Chinni adds that you can't lump entire states together because there are so many differences by county. He says that if you look at uncontested presidential states–states where neither party is spending time or money to get out the vote–you would see these patterns repeated.
Note: This infographic is interactive. Hover your mouse above the bars to see values.
Florida Voter Turnout by County Type Texas Voter Turnout by County Type North Carolina Voter Turnout by County Type +18 Voter Turnout Comparison Registered Voter Turnout Comparison | Infographics
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