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Survey: black and Hispanic voters reported more problems voting than white voters this year

The survey found black voters were nearly twice as likely to report problems voting as their white peers.

An “I voted” sticker.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Election Day, how easy of a time you had voting might have come down to your race.

In a new survey of 1,500 US adults by the advocacy group Democracy Fund, about 85 percent of respondents said they had “a pleasant experience voting” on November 8. About 9 percent said they “felt fearful or intimidated voting,” and 6 percent said they had “problems voting.”

But the results here appeared to be racially skewed: While just 12 percent of white voters expressed fear, intimidation, or other problems voting, 18 percent of Hispanic voters and 23 percent of black voters did. So Hispanic voters were 50 percent more likely than their white peers to report problems, while black voters were nearly twice as likely.

This isn’t the first analysis to find minority voters face extra hurdles voting. Previous studies by Harvard researcher Stephen Pettigrew found that minority voters are six times as likely as white voters to wait more than an hour to vote. And these hurdles to voting can affect outcomes, Emily Badger reported for the New York Times:

Mr. Pettigrew’s research suggests that for each hour would-be voters wait, their probability of voting in the next election drops by one percentage point. That may not sound like a lot, but Mr. Pettigrew estimates that this means about 200,000 people didn’t vote in 2014 because of the lines they encountered in 2012 (and that’s accounting for the lower turnout we’d expect in a midterm election).

It’s hard to say whether all of these voting problems were enough to swing the 2016 election, though minority voters were much more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton and white voters were much more likely to vote for Donald Trump. (Studies suggest that voting hurdles don’t have that much of an effect on national election outcomes.) But it was at the very least one thing that played in Trump’s favor.


Watch: 6 ways your voting rights could be violated on Election Day

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