Participation in the democratic process is a fundamental right and responsibility of American citizens age 18 and older. A few days before Election Day on Nov. 3, 2020, Americans are already breaking voting records. About 93 million have cast early ballots, almost twice as many pre-election votes in 2016 and 68% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election.
Voter turnout is not even nationwide, however, and some states tend to have far more civically engaged residents than others. Using state-level voter-participation data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states by voter turnout, from the lowest to the highest.
In nearly every midterm congressional election since 1986, fewer than half of all eligible adults cast a vote. The only exception is the 2018 election, when 53.4% of voting-age adults cast a ballot. The turnout marked the highest participation rate in a midterm election in recent history. Pundits speculate that the record turnout was partially a reaction to the multiple controversies that have engulfed the Trump administration. These are 50 most important events since Trump was elected president.
Age demographics partially explain the increased voter turnout in the highest ranking states on this list. Older Americans — those 65 and older — are the most likely to vote. In seven of the 10 states with the highest voter turnout, the share of residents 65 and older is higher than the 15.6% national share.
Economic factors also influence voter turnout at a state level. Higher-income Americans are far more likely to vote than those at the lower end of the income spectrum. In eight of the 10 states with the highest voter participation, the poverty rate is lower than the 13.4% national rate. Here is a full list of America’s richest and poorest states.
To identify the states with the highest and lowest voter turnout rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of voting-age citizens in each state who cast a ballot in the 2018 midterm election. All voter turnout data came from the Current Population Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage of the population that is 65 and older and the poverty rate are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.