United States Voter Turnout Since 1970

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One of the key indicators of a healthy democracy is active participation by its citizenry, who are responsible for electing officials to implement the will of the people. Tracking this data since the 1970 elections shows a steadily decreasing voter turnout rate with each significant election. Another point of interest is the vast difference in voter turnout for presidential and mid-term elections, both of which are tracked by the The Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

One positive indicator among the decreasing voter turnout rates is the increase in the number of registered voters. Although several years showed small reductions in the number of registered voters, when averaged by election cycle, registration numbers have been steadily increasing.

Each presidential election since 1970 is detailed below to give the data context, showing which elections drew the highest voter turnout rates:

Election Year Candidates Winner
2016 Donald J. Trump (R)
Hillary Clinton (D)
Donald J. Trump
2012 Barack Obama (D)
Mitt Romney (R)
Barack Obama
2008 Barack Obama (D)
John McCain (R)
Barack Obama
2004 George W. Bush (R)
John Kerry (D)
George W. Bush
2000 Al Gore (D)
George W. Bush (R)
George W. Bush
1996 Bill Clinton (D)
Bob Dole (R)
Ross Perot (I)
Bill Clinton
1992 Bill Clinton (D)
George H.W. Bush (R)
Ross Perot (I)
Bill Clinton
1988 George H.W. Bush (R)
Michael Dukakis (D)
George H.W. Bush
1984 Ronald Reagan (R)
Walter Mondale (D)
Ronald Reagan
1980 Jimmy Carter (D)
John B. Anderson (I)
Ronald Reagan (R)
Ronald Reagan
1976 Gerald Ford (R)
Jimmy Carter (D)
Jimmy Carter
1972 George McGovern (D)
Richard Nixon (R)
Richard Nixon