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Russian trolls tried to turn off African-American voters in 2016, when fewer African-Americans voted

Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 with the electoral college. But in three states (Michigan, Pennsylva...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 12:03 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 12:03 PM

Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 with the electoral college. But in three states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), his margin over opponent Hillary Clinton was less than 50,000 votes each. In fact, just 77,744 total votes in those three states separated the two candidates. If Clinton had won all three, she would've been victorious over Trump. But she wasn't. Every vote mattered in the 2016 election.

But not everyone voted. Not by a longshot. Exit polls show concern with both candidates. And helping to fuel that was the Russian election interference campaign, which in particular targeted African-Americans on social media and spread doubts about Clinton and specifically shought to decrease turnout, according to a new report commissioned for and released by the Senate Intelligence Committee Monday.

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It's impossible to say that the Russian influence campaign specifically changed the minds of African-American voters or turned them off to Clinton or that it didn't play into divisions that were already festering in the country and the party.

But it is absolutely true that the number of African-American voters who participated in the election declined sharply in 2016, according to the Current Population Survey. It was the largest decline in turnout among African-Americans since collection began on the data in 1988. Just 59.4% of eligible African-Americans voted in 2016, down from 66.2% who reported voting in 2012. The decline is likely in part due to the absence of President Barack Obama, the nation's first black President, on the ballot. He helped drive historic turnout in the African-American community in both 2008 and 2012. But 2016 was the first time there had been a decline in Black turnout since 1996.

Wisconsin, a state won by Trump by only 10,704 votes, saw the largest drop in turnout among African-Americans, down from 73.7% who voted in 2012 to 45.1% in 2016 -- a 27 point decrease. The decreases in Michigan and Pennsylvania weren't as significant. The next biggest decreases in turnout among African-Americans between 2012 and 2016 were in Indiana (down 20 points) and Mississippi (down 13 points).

Only 21% of Americans said they thought the elections in the United States were run and administered very well, with 53% who said they were run and administered somewhat well, according to a survey by Pew Research Center during the election in 2018. They were much more likely to think that elections in their own community, specifically, were run and administered very well (53%). Another quarter said that they were very confident that votes across the US were counted as voters intended.

In July 2017, 56% of Americans said they were extremely or very concerned about voter suppression, according to a Fox News poll. Non-white voters were much more likely to be concerned about voter suppression (71%) than white voters (51%).

A Quinnipiac poll from March 2017 found similar results, 35% of voters thought voter suppression was the biggest problem in presidential elections compared to voter fraud (30%) and outside interference (26%). Republicans were much more likely to cite voter fraud (55%), while Democrats said voter suppression (50%) and were more likely to think outside interference was a big problem (30% for Democrats, 21% for Republicans).

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds211139
DeSoto131115
Madison120634
Jones106149
Neshoba95268
Lauderdale87978
Rankin81612
Forrest79842
Scott74215
Harrison7198
Copiah56214
Leake54719
Holmes52040
Wayne51511
Jackson50516
Oktibbeha48324
Lee47716
Leflore46948
Yazoo4676
Washington4659
Lowndes44411
Lincoln43434
Warren42517
Lamar4077
Grenada3675
Pike35612
Monroe35529
Attala35023
Lafayette3394
Newton3289
Covington2905
Sunflower2806
Adams26318
Bolivar26113
Chickasaw25418
Panola2546
Jasper2456
Noxubee2458
Tate2457
Clay24010
Marion24011
Winston2405
Pearl River23932
Pontotoc2314
Claiborne22810
Simpson2183
Smith20411
Clarke19824
Marshall1963
Coahoma1836
Kemper17413
Union1729
Walthall1694
Carroll15711
Lawrence1541
Yalobusha1527
Webster12310
Itawamba1228
Tippah12111
Hancock12013
Humphreys1209
Calhoun1194
Montgomery1162
Jefferson Davis1034
Prentiss973
Tallahatchie943
Greene917
Tunica893
Wilkinson899
Jefferson843
Amite812
George733
Choctaw714
Quitman670
Tishomingo651
Perry594
Alcorn551
Stone511
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena61
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4210140
Montgomery378894
Mobile3634134
Tuscaloosa196436
Marshall14959
Lee116737
Shelby105623
Madison10216
Morgan9553
Franklin84313
Walker84317
Dallas8088
Elmore80614
Baldwin6639
Etowah60613
Butler60427
Chambers57627
DeKalb5765
Tallapoosa56069
Autauga53011
Unassigned50924
Russell4690
Lowndes45719
Houston4244
Lauderdale4105
Limestone4030
Cullman3983
Pike3965
Colbert3635
Bullock3609
Coffee3522
Barbour3221
Covington3086
St. Clair2922
Hale28520
Wilcox2788
Marengo27711
Sumter27512
Calhoun2685
Clarke2645
Escambia2586
Talladega2576
Dale2410
Winston2293
Jackson2102
Chilton2062
Blount2041
Pickens2046
Marion20012
Monroe1942
Choctaw19112
Conecuh1786
Randolph1699
Bibb1671
Macon1668
Greene1647
Perry1350
Henry1293
Crenshaw1223
Lawrence1000
Washington987
Cherokee717
Lamar711
Fayette661
Geneva630
Coosa551
Clay532
Cleburne291
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