Special Report

States Where the Most (and Fewest) People Vote in the Primaries

John Harrington

The 2020 presidential nomination process begins Feb. 3 with the Iowa Caucuses, followed by the New Hampshire primary on Feb.11. Candidates from both parties battle it out during primaries and caucuses to try to win their party’s presidential nomination, which will be decided at their national conventions in July for the Democratic Party and in August for the Republican Party.

Although the primary vote is critical in choosing the next president, interest in the  primaries varies from state to state. As the primary campaign gets underway, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the states with the highest and lowest voter turnout rates in the primaries and caucuses by analyzing data from the United States Election Project.

In primaries, voters directly select their nominee, and most states use the primary method to select candidates. A caucus is a meeting of party members who convene to discuss policies, actions, or meet to nominate a presidential candidate. Those participating in the caucuses choose delegates who will represent them when they vote for candidates at the national convention. Here is how important the Iowa Caucuses were in every election.

States such as New Hampshire and Wisconsin are usually among the states with the highest voter turnout in primaries. New Hampshire has the advantage of going first in the primary season — state law requires New Hampshire to vote first — which stokes voter interest. The Granite State is famous for its political engagement. Its state legislature has 424 members, the most of any American representative body besides the U.S. Congress. 

Wisconsin has a long history of civic involvement as well, dating back to Progressive Republican Gov. Robert La Follette in the early 20th century. He believed voters have a stake in an efficient and honest government. Here is the best and worst thing about every state.

Click here to see the states where the most (and fewest) people vote in the primaries

To determine how many people voted in the primaries and caucuses in each state, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed data from the United States Election Project. Turnout rates were calculated by taking the number of votes in each party’s primary or caucus and dividing by the eligible voter population. We did not include vote totals when delegates were decided at a party’s convention.