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

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
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Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
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Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
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Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
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Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
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