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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Washington Among the Tops in Voter Turnout

Posted by on Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 3:26 PM

In certifying the 2012 election results yesterday, Secretary of State Sam Reed kvelled about Washington State's voter turnout, which at 81.25 percent may be "possibly the best in the country this year."

Yeah, possibly. Despite all the whining over our slow results, a dozen or so other states have yet to certify, so not all the data is in. And even then, Washington may only best the nation in turnout as a percentage of registered voters. As a percentage of eligible voters, Washington's 65.05 percent turnout rate is still very good, but nothing extraordinary. According to the latest tally from the United States Election Project at George Mason University, five other states have already reported higher turnout as a percentage of eligible voters than Washington, including both Iowa and New Hampshire, both at over 70 percent.

So yeah, Washington is doing a great job turning out voters. But we still need to do a better job registering them if we truly want to lead the nation in voter participation.


Comments (13) RSS

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Julie in Eugene 1
Possibly the best in the country? Um, Oregon released their final numbers this week and we were at 82.8%. Sorry, Washington. :)

P.S. 75.4% of our eligible voters were registered.
Posted by Julie in Eugene on December 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Julie in Eugene 2
Ahem. Addendum to my PS. 75.4% of our eligible voters were registered, meaning our turnout as a % of eligible voters actually kind of sucked.
Posted by Julie in Eugene on December 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Yet 2/3 of the voters voting for I-1085 doesn't represent democracy. Do you know what a jackass you look like in this post?
Posted by Goldensteinemberg on December 6, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
On the other hand, our County was the best at being awesome.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 6, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 5
@3 Jesus, Eyman. Just register for an account already, you fuckin' hustler.
Posted by Sir Vic on December 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
@5 Boom.
Posted by Calvin&Hobbes on December 6, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
You know what, it's still one of the best in the nation any way you look at it. I'm just proud that I live in a state, and a county, that is so politically active.
Posted by floater on December 6, 2012 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 8
I don't know... Yes, it would be great if we could get more people registered. But how? I recently renewed my drivers license at the DMV. I had to actively turn down voter registration (because I'm already registered). The state already makes it pretty fucking easy to register, and has resisted playing any of the crazy disenfranchisement games going on in other states. It takes so little effort to register that I have to assume that those that aren't registered simply don't give a shit at all.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on December 6, 2012 at 6:19 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 9
I imagine that the Election Project will eventually look at how things like voting by mail and early voting contribute to turnout? After seeing the reports of people waiting forever to vote, I can't believe that more states haven't adopted mail balloting.
Posted by Josh Bis on December 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM · Report this
Voter turnout is always calculated based on total registered voters. Sure, it doesn't account for all eligible voters, but that's another issue.
Posted by TJ on December 6, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
I'm not sure why we even have to register people to vote in the first place. Why not just make it so that if you're a citizen of the state, you are automatically 'registered' to vote? Why make it a separate process to register to vote at all?
Posted by NineOneFour on December 7, 2012 at 12:12 AM · Report this
Noadi 12
@8 You would think so, I live in Maine which lets you register on voting day, makes early and absentee voting extremely easy, has no ID requirements, and is unusual in having no restrictions based on criminal record (including for prisoners), and we don't have universal registration. Some people just can't be bothered to vote. I would love to move to an Australian system where every citizen is automatically registered when they turn 18 and voting is compulsory (though the later is likely unconstitutional).
Posted by Noadi on December 7, 2012 at 2:23 AM · Report this
@12 - Some people also don't see the point of voting. When political institutions like congress have such a low approval rating, political alienation is likely to be high and first past the post systems tend to disenfranchise many.

Great post Goldy.
Posted by anon1256 on December 7, 2012 at 7:36 AM · Report this

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