In North Carolina, the African American vote held at 23 percent, the same level as 2008, even as the pull of making history faded.
Arnold Dennis, 65, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Institute at North Carolina Central University, said some people had unrealistic expectations when Obama was elected in 2008, underestimating how bad the economy was when he took office.
“I think some people thought that Obama was going to get elected and make magic. There’s nothing magical in this stuff. It takes hard work,” Dennis said.
But as he has done for more than a decade, the undaunted Dennis ferried voters to the polls Tuesday in his 1991 Camry, pockmarked with rust and fading paint.
“We don’t have a choice but to vote,” he said, noting the struggles of black people to achieve that right.
The effort to enact a voter ID law in North Carolina — which passed the General Assembly but was vetoed by Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat — was arguably the biggest factor in getting black people to the polls, said William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Anna Kellam, 23, a sales representative for a bathroom remodeling company who just moved to North Carolina from Florida, said she supported Obama because of his emphasis on education and women’s rights. But, she said, she wants more from his second term.
“I would like to see people come together,” said Kellam, who is biracial. “I’d like to see more jobs and more opportunities for people who are poor. All in all, I want people to get along. I know it’s hard, because we’re in a kind of segregated society, but I want people to come together for a greater cause.”