Study: North Carolina moved polls farther from black voters in 2014

(PR NewsChannel) / November 23, 2015 / DURHAM, N.C. 

North Carolina’s boards of elections relocated about a third of its Early Voting sites for the 2014 election. A new study finds that those changes moved the polls a total of 350,000 miles farther away from African American voters’ homes, while white voters saw only a 21,000 mile increase.

The study, published today by the data analysis group, Insightus, at, calculated the distance from each of the state’s 3.4 million voters’ homes to their nearest Early Voting sites, comparing these for 2012 and 2014.

“From one county to the next we saw different kinds of outcomes,” explained Insightus president, Dr. William Busa. But when you add up those changes statewide, African American voters saw a disproportionate increase: 350,000 miles, or about the distance from the Earth to the Moon and half way home again. White voters’ increase was less than a tenth of that.”

At the individual level, the average black voter’s distance-to-poll increase by a quarter of a mile, while the average white’s increased by just 26 feet.

Republicans have dominated the state’s legislature since 2010, and also hold the governorship. But in national contests North Carolina is more competitive: Obama took the state in 2008 but lost in 2012, and in 2014 Republican Thom Tillis won his U.S. Senate seat from incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan by less than a two-point margin.

Political science researchers have found that increasing distance-to-poll decreases voter turnout by as much as half a percent for every one-tenth of a mile. Applied to the new study’s findings, 18,000 black voters may have been discouraged from making the trip to an Early Voting site by the poll changes in 2014. North Carolina’s black voters overwhelming favor early voting, and among them Democrats outnumber Republicans by 30-to-1.

The findings come amid battles over North Carolina’s new voting law, signed by McCrory after the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision. The new law cuts Early Voting days nearly in half, bans out-of-precinct voting and voter registration on election day, and requires voters to present state-issued photo IDs. It is being challenged in federal district court by plaintiffs including the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the League of Women Voters, and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.

The Insightus report is available at

Dr. William Busa
(919) 477-2051

Direct link:

SOURCE:  Insightus

This press release is distributed by PR NewsChannel. Your News. Everywhere.