Photo: Washington Post Claims Hispanic Voter Registation is Down, Obama Camp Cries False
In response to a Washington Post article titled, “Voter registration down among Hispanics, blacks,” President Obama’s Director of Constituency Press released a piece of their own calling the Post article inaccurate due to the use of 18-mponth-old Census data from November 2010.
In 2008 we saw participation increase across the board—more young voters, more older voters, more black voters, more Hispanic voters, more white voters. And they realize that voting once isn’t enough; to bring about real and lasting change, we need to stay involved throughout 2012 and vote in November.
The supporters who make this grassroots campaign what it is understand that principle. Unfortunately, sometimes the media does not.
The analysis on which the Post based its mistaken claim is fundamentally flawed in several ways. Let’s look at a few of them:
First, the Census data the article cited is 18 months old—it’s from November 2010, the month of the last midterm elections.Since that time, more than 1.4 million African Americans and more than 1.2 million Latinos have registered to vote.
Second, it’s misleading to compare May 2012’s voter rolls to November 2010’s, since one refers to a national election for which registration has far from closed, and the other is not. A fair apples-to-apples comparison would look at the same point in a similar election cycle. So let’s do what the Post didn’t: when you compare the number of Latino and African American voters in November 2010 to those in November 2006, or compare the rolls in May 2012 to May 2008, it’s clear that the number goes up, not down, in each case. For example, the Post article claimed that in Florida, the largest battleground state, the number of Latino registrants decreased by 10 percent from Election Day 2008 and Election Day 2010; in reality, it increased by 5 percent. That’s a mistake 15 percentage points wide.
Third, registration among Latinos and African Americans has never been higher. There are more Americans of both backgrounds registered to vote today than there were when President Obama was elected.
Republicans who wish The Washington Post’s registration count is accurate will be disappointed by these facts. Registration numbers are rising in spite of GOP legislatures and governors in more than half of the states who have put up onerous hurdles that make it harder for Americans to vote—with the excuse that they’re solving a non-existent epidemic of voter fraud.