The 2012 election is over, but there’s plenty to learn from the results. Early voting was popular, particularly in battleground states: 69% of votes in Nevada were cast early along with 53% in Florida, 72% in Colorado, and 42% in Iowa. Many voters are taking advantage of early voting opportunities and the flexibility it affords in deciding when and how to vote. These changes are causing nonprofits, communities, and campaigns to rethink the ways they approach Election Day.

Minority voters cast a record 28% of the votes, up from 26% in 2008. For the first time ever, black voters may have voted at a higher rate than white voters. While this is not yet confirmed, the rise in black turnout has been driven by increases in voter participation, not by demographic shifts, as is often the case with other minority groups. According to Pew Hispanic Center projections, Latinos will account for 40% of the growth in the eligible electorate between now and 2030, at which time 40 million Latinos will be eligible to vote–up from 23.7 million now.

Although lagging in overall numbers, youth participation is becoming a critical factor in deciding elections. 46 million youth were eligible to vote in the November 2012 election, including 16.8 million who became eligible since 2008.

Additional turnout information will be available later this year in the next installment of our America Goes to the Polls series and in the Census Current Population Survey: Voting and Registration Supplement.

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