A study published by American Politics Research found that about 3.9 million additional Black people should have been able to vote in the 2010 election but couldn’t. 2.74 million potential voting-age Black people were “missing” from their communities.
And Over 1.17 million formerly incarcerated people couldn’t vote in most states. So why are these Black people “missing?”
Black people also die earlier than other groups, thanks to high rates of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. People who die prematurely have fewer opportunities to vote compared with those who reach their life expectancy. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it gets worse.
They incarcerate us at rates six times higher than whites, and most states ban felons and ex-felons from voting. These factors have produced an estimated national Black disenfranchisement rate of 13.2%.
“Black missingness” is worst in Southern states - Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, where rates range from 20.7% to 24.3%.
Another study made a frustrating and shocking discovery-these missing votes may have affected the outcomes of eleven gubernatorial and seven Senate elections between 1970 and 2004.
So when we talk about the Black vote, we have to recognize how health inequities have suppressed millions of Black voices.