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Status: Complete

Black Progress? Voter Registration

24 states targeted for voter registration and GOTV for 1983 and 1984. Groups
involved in targeting: Operation Big Vote, Voter Education Project, NAACP,
National Urban League, SCLC and Operation PUSH. Numerical goal is 25%;
see below.


Table 1 shows the number of voting age blacks who are unregistered in the 28 states with a significant black population. The states are
ranked in order according to the number of unregistered blacks. The table can be used to gauge the potential for adding blacks to the
registration rolls, and thus can be used to assign priority for registration efforts.

Table 2 compares the number of unregistered blacks to the presidential victor margin in 1980; a negative figure indicates the 1980
Republican margin in a given state, while a positive figure indicates the Democratic margin. This table can be used to assess the potential
impact of registration efforts on the presidential outcome in various states in 1984. There were nine states where the number of unregistered
blacks exceeds the 1980 Republican victory margin. In theory, if all currently unregistered blacks had voted Democratic in these states, the
state outcome would have been reversed. Of course, if the 1984 election in more closely contested than the Reagan landslide of 1980, the
potential impact of black registration efforts on the outcome in many states could be even greater.

According to an additional calculation (not shown in these tables), simply achieving parity between black and white registration rates might
have altered the 1980 presidential election outcome in five states: Alabama, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Source: Joint Center for Political Studies

Ivy Leaf -- Winter 1983/84 31

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