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Statement of Jeremy Bird on New Census Numbers

CHICAGO – Jeremy Bird, 270 Strategies Partner, issued the following statement on the numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday showing voters in minority communities voting at historic levels:

“With our proud history as a melting pot and beacon for democracy, America ought to be a place where our government reflects the diversity and values of our people. And the good news is the latest Census figures show African-Americans voted in 2012 at the highest rate ever recorded – even outperforming white voters for the first time. Latinos and Asian-Americans also voted at historically high rates – second only to the record set in 2008.

“But even with turnout rates at historic levels, fully 82 million adult American citizens (38%) did not vote in 2012 – including 12 million Latinos (52%), 9 million African-Americans (34%), and 4 million Asian-Americans (53%). And among those who didn’t vote, 41 million were women (36%) and another 16 million (59%) were young people between the ages of 18 and 24. When more than one-third of our adult citizens don’t cast a ballot – and more than half of our Latino, Asian-American and young citizens don’t make their voices heard – we must take action.

“We know how to address the problem. In 2012, the Obama for America team drove up turnout in battleground states by registering and engaging voters – and by fighting to maintain and expand programs that increase voter access and convenience like early voting, no-excuse absentee mail voting and permanent absentee voting. We reached voters in minority communities as well as women voters and young people who face similar challenges in too many places around the country.

“Now Battleground Texas is taking this fight to the Lone Star State, where 7.4 million adult citizens (46%) did not vote in 2012 – including 3 million Latinos (61%), 800,000 African-Americans (37%), 300,000 Asian-Americans (57%), 3.6 million women (43%), and 1.7 million 18-24 year-olds (75%). Over the next several years, we will work to register more voters in underrepresented communities – and connect with people who are already registered but haven’t been engaged in the democratic process.

“We can do better than a government that is by half the people, for half the people. Working together with the many grassroots volunteers who are already joining the fight to change politics in Texas and beyond, we can turn things around.”

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