An examination of the 2017 Alabama Special Election gives an extreme example of unique circumstances that drive up turnout.
Also encourage students to consider the role of current events (political scandals and other controversies, for example), social media (are people energized or turned off of politics by posts?), and friend groups (do your friends and family vote?) on turn out.
Voter Turnout in the United States (Data from Fairvote.org)
|Highest When…||Lowest When…|
Who is most likely to vote?
- Older voters (voters over age 30 were 15-20% more likely to vote than voters age 18-29)
- White and Black voters (in 2012, Black turnout was greater than white turnout, but turnout in these groups is usually similar, but often nearly 20% higher than Latino and Asian American voters)
- Women (about 8% more women vote than do men)
- Wealthier Voters (more than 70% of those who make more than $150,000 vote, but fewer than 41% of those who earned less than $15,000 each year)
- Similar patterns are seen, for obvious reasons, in turnout data based on education and profession—both of which tend to be related to wealth.