Southern voting as percent of white population in 1904


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
I did some calculations based on votes cast in the Presidential Election of 1904 and white population in the census of 1900. I am assuming few blacks voted at that point, but there probably was a significant black vote in the upper south. I didn't try to calculate the percentage of the population that was voting age men. It wasn't possible to determine how many were not interested in voting.

In the north at that time, on average over 20% of the population voted. In southern states immediately before the Civil War, a little less than 20% of the population voted. The percent of voting age voters voting increased in the 20th century even before 1970. Some of that may be because poll tax amounts were not increased with inflation.

The figures indicate that poll taxes, literacy tests, bans of voting with criminal records, residency requirements, hard to access polling places, etc. significantly reduced the white vote, presumably mostly of poor whites. In some ways this reinstated restrictions on voting based on property, which were mostly eliminated in the early 19th century.Particularly in the deep south, there were additional obstacles to blacks voting.

The percentages were much higher in NC and TN, presumably reflecting less obstacles to voting and probably a significant black vote. The VA vote in the 1900 Presidential election was about twice that shown here for 1904.

Percent of white population voting in Presidential Election of 1904 in former Confederate states.

LA 7.3
MS 8.4
SC 9.9
TX 10.6
AL 10.7
GA 11.0
VA 11.4
FL 12.1
AR 12.2
TN 15.7
NC 16.1
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