Voter Turnout

How are we doing?

Voter Turnout Rate (2016)

During the 2016 presidential election, the voter turnout rate for the state of Arizona was 49.9%, 5.2 percentage points lower than the national rate. Voter turnout in Arizona was relatively low when compared to other western states. Arizona ranked seventh out of the 10 western states. Of the western states chosen for comparison, Colorado had the highest voter turnout, with 66.2% of the voting-age population casting a ballot. On the opposite end, Texas ranked last, with a voter turnout rate of 43.1%. Historically the voter turnout rate for the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has exceeded the state’s turnout rate. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout rate for the Tucson MSA was 50.0%, 2016 data for Tucson will be available in August of 2018.

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 2012 presidential election, voter turnout for the nation was 54.1%. Turnout in Arizona was 7.2 percentage points less than the U.S., at 46.9%. The Tucson MSA had a voter turnout rate between the U.S. and Arizona at 50.0%. 

What are the key trends?

Since 2000, the U.S. and state of Arizona have both seen substantial increases in the voter turnout rate, increasing by 4.3 and 9.0 percentage points, respectively. The Tucson MSA had a voter turnout rate of 44.9% in 2000, and 50.0% in 2012, representing a notable increase in the engagement of its residents.   

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.