Voter turnout exceeded 2012 at a level consistent with the last three presidential elections.
- 60.2% of the nation’s 231 million eligible voters cast ballots, according to ballots counted and certified by state election boards, compared to 58.6% turnout in 2012.
- Four in ten eligible voters didn’t vote. Among the most common reasons voters cite for not voting are a lack of competition and meaningful choices on the ballot or problems with their voter registration or getting to the polls
STATE TURNOUT RANKINGS
The two factors that consistently correlate with higher voter participation are the ability to fix a registration issue when you vote and living in a battleground state.
Same Day Voter Registration
- 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.
- The significant turnout advantage of SDR states has persisted even as four new states (Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland) implemented the policy since the 2012 election.
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR)
- Oregon, the first state to implement AVR, saw the highest turnout increase of any state over 2012 – 4.1 percentage points. AVR pro-actively registers citizens at DMV transactions.
- Five of the six highest-turnout states, and 12 of the top 20, were battleground states.
- The campaigns dedicated 99% of their ad spending and 95% of campaign visits to the 14 battleground states – well over half going to just four states – FL, NC, OH and PA.
- The voices of 65% of the electorate – 147 million voters – were left on the sidelines from determining the presidency – living in the 36 non-battlegrounds states whose electoral votes were pre-ordained. That, in fact, is largely what happened.
- Latino (75%) and Asian American voters (81%) lived disproportionately outside swing states and, as a result, experienced 10-16% less voter contact than their swing state counterparts and a reduced voice in the election of the president.
Lowest ranking states
- Hawaii, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas were at the bottom five for the third consecutive presidential election. None were battleground states. All five cut off the ability to register or update a registration three to four weeks before Election Day.
- National turnout was reduced by a full 1.5 percentage points due to low turnout in three of the four most populous states – California, New York and Texas.
That’s from the executive summary. The full report is here, and the index page with other links is here. I have been saying, and I continue to believe, that the large increase in voter registrations in Harris County was key to the blue surge this past November. It’s absolutely a top priority for 2018, and it needs to be one for Democrats all over the state. The fact that we don’t make it easy to register voters in Texas is just the cross we’re going to have to bear until we are in a position to change the laws. You want to make a difference in 2018? Become a deputy voter registrar, and get busy with it. Link via Rick Hasen, and the Dallas Observer has more.