2016 Presidential election voter turnout report

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Minnesota has been number one in turnout for eight out of the last nine presidential elections. In 2016, it was trailed by five states – Maine, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa – all of which had both same day registration and battleground status.The bottom five states in voter turnout – Texas, West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Hawaii – have been at the bottom for the last three presidential elections. These were not battleground states. Low turnout can also relate to restrictive voting laws and a less educated electorate. These three factors reinforce a culture of non-voting that seems hard to change.Hawaii has finished last in voter turnout for the last five presidential elections in a row. It’s far from the mainland and receives few visits and little attention, in addition to being a non-battleground state having only three electoral votes that predictably go to the Democratic party.California, New York and Texas continue to bring down turnout nationwide. Together, the three states represent a quarter of the voting-eligible population. Had they voted at the same rate other states did in 2016, national turnout would have been 1.5 percentage points higher

The six highest-ranking states offered same day voter registration (SDR), which allows voters to register or fix a registration problem when they vote (In order – Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa).Voter turnout in states with SDR was seven points higher than states without the option, consistent with every election since the policy was first introduced in the 1970s.Notable as well among high turnout states were the “All Vote by Mail” states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington. They ranked 4th, 8th and 12th respectively. Their average turnout was 68%. In each of those states every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail before the election and may return that ballot at their convenience at a local drop box or by mail.Voter turnout in contested battleground states has been five to eight percentage points higher than in non-battleground states in each of the last five presidential elections.

This helps (but not completely) in explaining why turnout of certain minority groups, notably Hispanic and Asian American voters, is so low:


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In addition, Hispanic turnout is hurt by the fact that a large proportion (up to 45%) of the Hispanic electorate consists of young voters, who have always had lower turnout through history.

America continues to exist in an era of high turnout and elevated political activity

Contrary to the punditocracy, youth turnout remained high

Youth share of the voting electorate held steady at 19%.CIRCLE, the leading national research center on youth civic engagement, estimates youth voter turnout at 50%, five points higher than four years ago.


EAC Report


A couple notes of my own:

1. California's ranking improved, but remains on the lower end due to its non-competitive status and somewhat less favorable voting laws. CA should be poised to rise even further in the ranks as by 2017-2018, automatic voter registration (AVR) and same-day voter registration (SDR) will be available.

Further, California is shifting to a Colorado-like voting system, where all registered voters will receive ballots in the mail. A pilot program involving limited number of counties (such as Orange) will go live in 2018, and by 2020 most counties will have shifted. Voters will still be able to vote in-person in "vote centers" anywhere in their county.

2. Texas actually slid down a rank this year compared to 2012, despite increases in urban centers. Efforts in the legislature to remove straight ticket voting option will almost surely produce longer lines in 2018 and 2020, given the long ballots TX is prone to.

3. North Carolina's slide in turnout appears to be related to lower interest among African Americans, Hurricane Mathew and a few voting restrictions that were not overturned by the 4th circuit last year.

4. Florida's rise in the ranks may be at least in part due to the restoration of favorable early voting plans, which a reduction of in 2012 caused long lines.

5. States poised to see bump in turnout (relatively) in 2020 based on potential voter access expansion: New Mexico, Illinois, Nevada, California and New Jersey (New York is up in the air currently)  ///  States that might see decrease due to restrictions by 2020: Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

6. Contrary to what many pundits like to parrot, Millennial turnout was actually high this year and political interest among this generation, if anything, is increasing.

Roronoa D. Law:
I wonder what the states with low turnout look like if we elected presidents popularly.

Technocracy Timmy:
Quote from: Mondale Won 1 State on March 18, 2017, 02:05:01 PM

Quote from: PNM on March 18, 2017, 01:59:12 PM

Damn, Texas's numbers are pathetic. Is that mostly hispanics not voting? If so, why the hell is the DNC not going all-out there?

I found W Virginia to be more surprising...I guess its not as pro-Trump as were lead to believe considering turnout there was 55% in 2004

I'd imagine a good chunk of them didn't want to choose between two Yankees/New Yorkers.

"Liberals just need to turn out more, then they'll win" ::)


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