U.S. Election: African-American Voter Turnout 'Low' In Key States

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton reads emails on her phone in her car, Washington, D.C., September 17. Clinton needs to ensure she inspires African-American voters to turn out on polling day. Carlos Barria/reuters

Early voting data in the U.S. election suggests that African-Americans are turning out to the ballot box in lower numbers than in 2012 in some states, creating a potential obstacle for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

In Florida, just 15 percent of the voters who have cast a ballot so far are African-American, compared to 25 percent in 2012.

And in Ohio, a key battleground state, voter participation was sharply down in areas near Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo that tend to swing heavily Democrat, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The latest national polls suggest the vote is likely to be close, and minority voters are an important constituency for Clinton. The campaign may be encouraged, however, by data suggesting that Latino participation in the election is up so far this year.

Clinton was by far the prefered choice among African-Americans at the Democratic primary; they were about three times more likely to vote for her than her rival Bernie Sanders.

But Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher told The New York Times that the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign had to ensure they did enough to inspire these voters to participate without the obvious appeal of Barack Obama, the first African-American president.

"We've had back-to-back elections in this country of high turnout where black voters have set the pace, and it's going to be really interesting to see if that continues post-Obama," he said.