Georgia was recently ranked 39th in the U.S. for state voter representation on Election Day.
To determine which states’ voters most demographically represent their electorates, WalletHub compared the distribution of the voting population in each of the 50 states to the distribution of the state’s total population by race, age and gender. WalletHub used data from the U.S. Census Bureau for its rankings.
Georgia scored 85.29 out of 100 on overall voter representation, 74.18 out of 100 on racial representation and 95.73 out of 100 on gender representation.
According to WalletHub, 53.61 percent of voters in the 2016 election were female, and females made up 52 percent of the total U.S. population in 2016.
73.32 percent of voters in the 2016 election were white, and white people made up 68.93 percent of the total U.S. population. Comparatively, 12.45 percent of voters in the 2016 election were Black, while Black people made up 12.86 percent of the total U.S. population.
Most of the voters in the 2016 election were 45 years old or older. The age group 45 to 64 made up 37.57 percent of voters, and the age group 65 plus made up 24.22 percent.
WalletHub also reported that 58.82 percent of voters were married, and 39.61 percent of voters had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Sharon D. Wright Austin, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, said that recent data shows minority voters may no longer be less likely to show up at the polls.
Austin said in the past, minority voters had lower turnout rates because of factors like voter suppression, lower incomes and less interest in the candidates who were running.
“Now, Black women vote at very high rates, especially in national elections and in those that have a Black female candidate,” Austin said.
As far as voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin said she suggests people vote during the early voting period, wear a mask, vote when the polls are less crowded and practice social distancing.
Joseph Losco, a professor emeritus of the Department of Political Science at Ball State University, said minority voters have been less likely to show up at the polls because of a history of discrimination.
“Decades of discrimination have made them feel unwanted, causing many to raise questions about the efficacy of their votes,” Losco said.
He said Latinx populations may also be worried about having their immigration status questioned, and may have language difficulties in states that do not provide multilingual ballots.
Losco added that it will be important for voters to practice patience when voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The virus has created unprecedented obstacles for election administrators, and we may simply have to wait until a few days after the election for ballots to be fully counted,” Losco said.
The full WalletHub report on voter representation can be found at https://wallethub.com/edu/voter-representation-index/24653 .