Top 10 states for voter turnout

Nov 2, 2010

People in northern states may be cold, but they seem to vote in higher numbers than in some other states.

In the 2008 election, these states had the highest turnout rates from their voting eligible population according to Michael McDonald's United States Elections Project:

  1. Minnesota 77.7%
  2. Wisconsin 72.1%
  3. New Hampshire 71.1%
  4. Maine 70.9%
  5. Colorado 70.2%
  6. Iowa 69.7%
  7. Michigan 68.4%
  8. Alaska 67.7%
  9. Oregon and Virginia 67.5%
  10. Connecticut 67.4%

Bringing up the rear were these states: Hawaii 50.5%, West Virginia 50.7%, Arkansas 52.6%, Texas 54.4%, Utah 54.5%, Arizona 55.1%.

McDonald says there was a period of decline in voter turnout, but it never got as bad as some people said:

Voter turnout rates presented here show that the much-lamented decline in voter participation is an artifact of poor measurement... When turnout rates are calculated for those eligible to vote, a new picture of turnout emerges, which exhibits no decline since 1972. Indeed, turnout rates appear to have been restored to their earlier high levels as of 2008.

McDonald says previous reports of steep declines in voter turnout only measured the voting age population (the number of people who are 18 and older). His data looks at the "voting eligible population" (those who are of age and are eligible to vote). When looking at this data, the picture of voter participation is better than some have reported.