In 2012, 58.7% of voting eligible citizens across the country turned out to vote in the presidential election. Turnout ranged from a high of 76.1% in Minnesota to a low of 44.5% in Hawaii. In total, 130.3 million voters cast ballots in 2012, about 2.3 million less than in 2008.
• Minnesota was first in voter turnout in 2012, while Maine (the 2010 title holder) fell to 6th place. Minnesota has led the country in voter turnout in eight of the last nine midterm and presidential elections.
• Five of the ten states with the highest turnout in 2012 have some form of Election Day Registration which allows voters to register or update their information on Election Day before casting a ballot: Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.
• Five of the ten states with the highest turnout in 2012 were swing states–Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin–where parties and interest groups invested extensive time and resources in media and mobilization.
• In contrast, five of the lowest turnout states have more burdensome registration requirements and are considered solidly Democratic or Republican–Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Of those five states, none had a margin of victory in the presidential race of less than 16 points, and Oklahoma had a spread of 34 points.
Where does your state fall in the rankings?
Download America Goes to the Polls 2012 for more information on turnout and voting trends in the 2012 election.
Source: U.S. Elections Project. The table on the left ranks states by total ballots cast as a percent of eligible voters in the 2012 general election. 2008 turnout rank is in parentheses.