Voter Turnout

How are we doing?

Voter Turnout Rate (2018)

During the 2018 mid-term election, the voter turnout rate for the state of Arizona was 43.7%, more than six percentage points lower than the rate during the 2016 presidential election. Arizona ranked sixth out of the 10 western states in voter turnout rates. Of the western states chosen for comparison, Colorado had the highest voter turnout, with 58.1% of the voting-age population casting a ballot. On the opposite end, Texas ranked last, with a voter turnout rate of 39.2%. Historically the voter turnout rate for the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has exceeded the state’s turnout rate. During the 2016 presidential election, the voter turnout rate for the Tucson MSA was 53.3%.

Why is it important?

Voter turnout is a measure of civic engagement and willingness to participate in the political process. Low voter turnout may be a result of a multitude of factors, including but not limited to socioeconomic status, age, disillusionment, indifference, or contentment. Generally speaking, higher voter turnout is desirable, as it lends to election results that reflect the will of the people. 

How do we compare?

During the 2016 presidential election, voter turnout for the nation was 55.5%. Turnout in Arizona was 5.6 percentage points less than the U.S., at 49.9%. The Tucson MSA had a voter turnout rate between the U.S. and Arizona at 53.3%. 

What are the key trends?

Since 2000, the Tucson MSA has experienced an 8.4 percentage point increase in the voter turnout rate for presidential elections.  These years are represented by the peaks on the accompanying graph.  During the same timeframe, the U.S. and state of Arizona have also experienced increases in the voter turnout rate for presidential elections, at 4.5 and 9.0 percentage points, respectively.

The troughs of the graph represent the voter turnout rate in midterm election years.  Since 2000, the U.S. and Arizona have experienced a more substantial decline than the Tucson MSA, with 3.4, 1.3. and 0.4 percentage point decreases, respectively.




How is it measured?

Voter turnout is measured by the percentage of the voting-age population that cast ballots. State data are from the U.S. Elections Project, while Arizona county data came directly from the Arizona Secretary of State’s official election canvass.