Voter Turnout

How are we doing?

Voter Turnout Rate (2012)

During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout rate for the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was 50.0%, 3.1 percentage points higher than the state of Arizona. Voter turnout in Arizona was relatively low when compared to the U.S. and other western states.  Arizona ranked eighth out of nine western states with a voter turnout rate of 46.9% in the 2012 presidential election. Of the western states chosen for comparison, Colorado had the highest voter turnout, with 65.4% of the voting-age population casting a ballot. On the opposite end, California ranked last, just slightly below Arizona, with a voter turnout rate of 45.6%. 

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., state of Arizona, and Tucson MSA have all seen increases in the voter turnout rate, increasing by 3.1, 6.0, and 5.1 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.