Shoebox ran with a Newsmax story saying that, in terms of percentage, voter turnout went down between the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections, the first time that has happened since 1996. I decided to try to do some analysis of the numbers the Census Bureau has been collecting since 1980, focusing on the past two elections. The numbers are, shall we say, “interesting”:
- The number of adult citizens went up 9.1 million, from 197.0 million in 2004 to 206.1 million in 2008, a 4.5% increase.
- The number of registered voters went up only 4.2 million from 142.1 million in 2004 (72.1% of citizens) to 146.3 million in 2008 (71.0% of citizens), a 3.0% increase. Of note, the number of registered voters as a percentage of citizens went down 2.1 percentage points.
- The number of those who showed up to vote went up from 125.7 million in 2004 (63.8% of citizens, 88.5% of registered voters) to 131.1 million in 2008 (63.6% of citizens, 89.6% of registered voters). While that is a 0.18 percentage-point drop among citizens, that is also a 1.18 percentage-point increase among registered voters. It also is the highest registered-voter percentage since 1992.
- In Minnesota in 2008, there were 132,000 more adults (+3.5%), 33,000 more adult citizens (+0.9%), 144,000 fewer registered voters (-4.8%), and 128,000 fewer people who showed up to vote (-4.4%).
- In Wisconsin in 2008, there were 86,000 more adults (+2.1%), 125,000 more adult citizens (+3.2%), 130,000 fewer registered voters (-4.0%), and 123,000 fewer people who showed up to vote (-4.1%)
- Four states (Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Georgia) had adult citizen population increases of at least 10%. Three of them (excepting Utah) also had double-digit percentage voter registration increases and double-digit percentage voter turnout increases.
- Five states (Michigan, Maine, West Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana) had adult citizen population decreases, with Mighican defying logic with a voter registration increase and Michgan, Connecticut and Louisana defying logic with turnout increases.
- Five states (Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina) plus the District of Columbia had double-digit percentage voter registration increases, with corresponding double-digit percentage turnout increases.
- Eighteen states (Pennsylvania, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Vermont, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Utah) had absolute voter registration decreases, with Louisiana and Missouri having absolute turnout increases, and a couple other states having a significantly-lower turnout decrease than registration decrease.
- No state had a double-digit registered-voter increase as a percentage of citizens, though Virginia came closest at 7.3% (or 5.08 percentage-point increase), and 12 other states/DC (Rhode Island, Georgia, Mississippi, Connecticut, North Carolina, Louisiana, DC, Michigan, Delaware, Nevada, Maryland and Hawaii) increased their registered-voter/citizen ratio.
- Ten states/DC (Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Virginia, Mississippi, DC, Arizona, South Carolina, Idaho and Colorado) had double-digit percentage absolute turnout increases, while 18 states (Ohio, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Montana, Oklahoma, Vermont, Maine, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Minnesota, Oregon, West Virginia and Utah) had absolute turnout decreases.
- Mississippi (13.1%, 8.08 percentage points) and Georgia (13.0%, 7.40 percentage points) had the largest turnout increase as a percentage of citizens, and they were joined in the increase by North Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, DC, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, South Carolina, Nebraska, Indiana, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Nevada, Colorado, Delaware and Michigan.
- Eighteen states (Wisconsin, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Montana, Delaware, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona and West Virginia) had turnout decreases as a percentage of registered voters.
There’s a lot more info than I can digest. I did, however, manage to get a state-by-state comparison put into an Excel spreadsheet, which also includes the total number of adults in each state, whether they are citizens, legal aliens, or illegal aliens.