New Report Ranks Voter Turnout in All 50 States

Large Turnout Advantage in States with Election Day Registration and Political Competition

Nonprofit VOTE is pleased to release America Goes to the Polls 2014: A Report on Voter Turnout in the 2014 Election, the latest edition in our biennial series on voter turnout. America Goes to the Polls 2014 uses official election data to rank voter turnout in the 50 states and looks at major factors underlying voter participation in this historically low turnout election.

Full Report: America Goes to the Polls 2014



Press Release: New Report Ranks Voter Turnout in All 50 States

Graphics from Report and Webinar: All Graphics

Previous Editions: America Goes to the Polls 2006-2012

Watch the recent webinar discussing our report, featuring Professor Michael McDonald, director of the US Elections Project.

Report Highlights

  • Voter turnout averaged 11 points or 33% higher in the 22 states with competitive statewide races for U.S. Senate or Governor compared to states without a competitive statewide race.
  • Competition in House races did little to draw voters to the polls. Only 39 of 435 House races were rated as electorally competitive in the lead up to the November midterm by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. This was down from 100 in 2010 and 57 in 2012.
  • States with Election Day Registration (EDR) far outpaced states that don’t allow voters to register or fix a registration problem on Election Day. Voter turnout in the EDR States averaged 48%, 12 points above voter turnout in non-EDR states. Four states used EDR for the first time in a midterm in 2014, bringing the total number of states using EDR to 13.
  • Maine led the nation in 2014 with 58.5% turnout among eligible voters, follow by Wisconsin at 56.8%. Colorado rose from 9th place in 2010 to 3rd in 2014 with turnout of 54.5%.
  • Seven of the top ten states in voter turnout were Election Day Registration states.
  • Nine of the top ten had competitive statewide races. In contrast, the 19 states with the lowest turnout states in 2014 had no competitive statewide races. Nor did any of those bottom 19 states allow voters to correct a registration issue when they went to vote. Nevada, Tennessee, New York, Texas and Indiana made up the bottom five with barely more than a quarter of their state’s voters participating.
  • It was again a tale of two electorates between a presidential and a midterm, the first much older and the second younger and more reflective of the general population. The share of the voting electorate of voters under age 40 dropped dramatically from a 36% share in 2012 to 26% in 2014.

America Goes to the Polls in the News

Midterm voter turnout drops to 72-year lowUSA Today, 03/20/2015

Low 2014 voter turnout highlights challenges in IndianaAssociated Press, 04/04/2015

As nation commemorates 50th anniversary of Voting Rights Act, Indiana struggles to get people to the pollsTribune Star, 03/23/2015

Maine No. 1 in voter turnout in 2014Portland Press Herald, 03/12/2015

Oregon still in 5th place in voter turnout studyStatesman Journal, 03/12/2015

Maine Tops States for Voter Turnout in 2014MPBN News, 03/12/2015

Colorado voter turnout 3rd in nationThe Durango Herald, 03/21/2015

Colorado ranks high in 2014 voter turnoutColoradoan, 03/19/2015

New York’s 2014 voter turnout 49th best in the US – Times Union, 03/19/2015

County Voter Turnout Down In 2014 MidtermThe Greenville Sun, 04/20/2015

Tennessee ranks fourth-worst state for voter turnoutThe Tennessean, 03/21/2015

Hawaii Ranked No. 32 in State Voter TurnoutHonolulu Civic Beat, 03/15/2015

Ohio, 3 other big states hurt 2014 election turnout nationwideThe Columbus Dispatch, 03/12/2015

‘Embarrassing’ 32 percent voter turnout has N.J. senator introducing Election Day registration bill –, 03/12/2015

Tallian makes call for easier voting processThe Chicago Tribune, 11/26/2015


Opinion: RFRA reflects necessity of election participationThe Journal Gazette, 04/07/2015

Another vote for all-mail electionsThe Denver Post, 03/18/2015

Editorial: N.J. should consider Election Day registration to boost voter participation –, 03/18/2015

We can improve Tennessee’s poor voter turnout numbersThe Tennessean, 03/19/2015

Editorial: Election report suggests Americans victimized by their own bad behaviorWaco Tribune-Herald, 03/22/2015

Main Street: Performing your patriotic privilege: Voting is a matter of honorThe Daily Journal, 03/26/2015

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