October 14, 2016 10:56 AM
With early voting starting next week, and with great rumors of demographic change giving, in the eyes of some, their best chance to flip Georgia from Republican to Democratic, at least at the presidential level, it’s time to take a look at who is registered to vote, and what has changed about the electorate since the last election in 2014. I took a look at registered voters as of October 1st, the latest figures published by the Secretary of State’s office. While there will be some additional voters registered during the first week of October, this provides a fairly good picture of where we stand.
I took a look at changes in the statewide electorate since the 2014 election, and specifically broke out Cobb and Gwinnett counties because of their size and increasing diversity. The results are in this PDF:
The information is presented twice, with different percentage figures. The top data set shows the percentage increase within each racial group compared to 2014. For example, the racial group with the largest percentage of new voters in the state is Hispanics. In 2014, there were 94.017 Latino voters. 2016’s 117,650 is a 25.1% increase. The bottom data set measures the percentage each subgroup makes up of the entire active voter list. Looking again at the strength of the statewide Hispanic electorate, despite a 25.1% increase in the number registered, the percentage of overall voters has only risen by 0.4%, from 1.8% to 2.2%.
Statewide, the number of white registered voters has actually fallen over the past two years, albeit not by much. However, in percentage terms, the white share of the vote has dropped by 0.8% in two years. The white share of the electorate in 2012 was 59.1%. Similarly, the share of the black vote has remained fairly stable over the last two years. most of the increase statewide of 1.4% came from new Asian and Hispanic voters. Indeed, Gwinnett’s number of registered voters grew at a greater rate than statewide, by 5.0%, reflecting its majority minority status.
Gwinnett County, which many believe will be one of the next counties to vote Democratic now has non-white voters in the majority. Only 49.2% of the Gwinnett electorate is white, a drop of almost 3%. Blacks make up 26.3% of voters, while Hispanic and Asian voters each have 6% of the voters, up just a little over 1%. For its part, the Cobb County voter base remains whiter than the rest of the state percentage-wise.
The percentage of registered voters in each group isn’t the same as the percentage in each group that actually votes in the election. In 2014, 63.5% of the voters were white, although they represented 58% of registered voters. Another factor to remember is that this is a presidential year, which typically means a higher voter turnout than non-presidential years. Who actually shows up in this most unusual presidential election remains to be seen.