Voter Turnout By State

Turnout in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was 59%, nationwide. What state had the highest voter turnout?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this chart tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. How do you think this information impacts campaigns and elections?

  5. Are you Surprised by this information?

  6. The brown states in the graph are states where the vote was won by less than 5% points (in other words, the vote was close!) Green states are the ones that were not very close. In general How do brown (close) states compare to green (not close) states in terms of voter turnout rates?

  7. Why do you think that is?

  8. What is the political science term we use for these brown states?

  9. Considering that America is probably more polarized than any time besides the 1960s and the Civil War, explain why all the states are not brown?

  10. What is the total difference between the state with the highest and lowest turnout?

  11. Is that surprising?

  12. What does this graph have to do with federalism?

  13. If we didn’t have an electoral college, would this graph matter?

  14. In which states do you imagine candidates spent most of the time and money campaigning in?

  15. Would you rather live in a brown or a green state?

  16. Are there any generalizations about party affiliation, race, or socio-economic status we can make about citizens of brown versus citizens of green states?

  17. You’ll find a map below of what states make it easiest and hardest to vote.* How do you think that information connects to the information in the graph above?

  18. Why do you think some states are making it so much harder for people to vote?

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

check out the Fair Vote website and information about why voter turnout is essential to a strong democracy.

Action Extension

State legislatures are in charge of voting rules and registration. Contact your state legislature and let them know what you think about your voter turnout and offer them one suggestion of what they could do about it! Share your story in class or online.

Luther Extension

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Age Voting Gap

Young voters (18-34) are predicted to vote at a higher rate than they did in the 2014 midterm election. But what is this year’s midterm voter turnout predicted to be for young voters compared to voters age 65 and older?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. According to the data, what is this year’s midterm voter turnout predicted to be for young voters compared to voters age 65 and older?

  3. What are three reasons for that?

  4. What is the big story this data tells?

  5. What most surprised you about this data?

  6. What is one consequence of this difference in voter turnout?

  7. How do you think these voter turnout rates compare to elections past?

  8. Describe three U.S. policies that would change if 32% of all midterm voters were young people, and only 13% were 65 and over?

  9. Explain why those policies would change?

  10. There is a minimum age for voting, should there be a maximum age?

  11. Across all age groups, voters are registered in roughly similar numbers. Why does that same rate of voter registration not translate to the same rate of voter turnout in midterm elections?

  12. Are midterm elections especially for old people?

  13. If the largest share of voter turnout in midterm elections came from young people, how would that impact US political campaigns?

  14. Some states have made it more difficult for young people to vote (for example, my state, NC, has made it particularly difficult for college students to vote). Why do you think that is?

  15. Do you think that more young people would vote if the candidates they could chose from were younger?

  16. Explain which party you think young voters are more likely to support.

  17. In the 2016 presidential election, the three leading candidates (Trump, Clinton, Sanders) would all have been above the age of 70 had they won the election. Why do you think that is?

  18. How do you think this age gap compares to voting gaps by race, sex, and socio-economic-status?

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Learning Extension

Read this Pew report on voting rates for Generation X and millennial voters

Action Extension

How old are the candidates running for federal office (House, Senate) in your district? Find out and share what you learned in class and online.

Baby Giraffe Extension

That’s a real baby giraffe, y’all!

That’s a real baby giraffe, y’all!

Voter Turnout of this World

over the past four years, What has happened to primary election voting turnout ?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the data tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is a consequence of this?

  5. How does voter turnout between Republicans and Democrats compare?

  6. Why do you think that is?

  7. What impact do you think this difference will have on the 2018 midterm elections?

  8. Primary election voter turnout is way up, but overall, how would you characterize a turnout rate of 19.6% in U.S. House primary elections?

  9. When so few people vote, who wins?

  10. Who loses?

  11. Why do so few people vote?

  12. Describe some barriers to voting?

  13. Do most other democracies have primary elections?*

  14. Predict how you think the 2018 midterm election will end up?

  15. Read this totally amazing list of 11 ways to increase voter turnout and share your favorite one in the comments section below.

    *Nope

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Read this totally banned and explicit article on midterm voter turnout trends from the Pew Research Center.

Action Extension

Did you know that you can help turnout the vote? You can work for either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or neither party to help get out the vote. That’s right! Get out the vote, and share your experience in class or online.

Ladder Extension

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Insane animal extension

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