Tag Archives: voter turnout

Plenty of room to move up in voter turnout

Chart from “U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout” by Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center, 5/15/17:

U.S. turnout in November 2016 was 56% of the voting age population (blue dots in the chart), 59% of citizens who could have registered and voted, but 87% of registered voters (yellow dots in the chart), a criterion that puts the US much higher in international standings. According to census data, only 70% of voting-age US citizens are registered to vote.

Can the remaining 30% be encouraged to register and vote? Certainly efforts in many states are going the other way, due to intimidating voter ID measures. We are fortunate in Pennsylvania that Governor Wolf established, three years ago, on-line voter registration (deadline to register for this spring’s primary election: 4/16/18).

According to Department of State data, the turnout in November 2016 was 78% of registered voters in Chester County, so unfortunately we were well behind the 87% national average. Clinton won by 25,000 votes, but her margin would likely have been higher if more people had voted, because turnout tends to favor Democrats.

US census data show Chesco has 367,554 US citizens age 18+, of whom 268,800 voted for president in 2016, thus 73% (compared to US 59%, so that looks better for us). Because Voter Services data include many voters who no longer live here, this 73% is probably the most significant figure.

Thus 27% of eligible Chesco voters either were not registered to vote or were registered and did not vote.Those 27% are the challenge for 2018.

If you know someone who needs to be convinced to register and/or vote, see the arguments here and then go to work.

Black Voters to Democrats: You’re Welcome

by Kashana Cauley, New York Times, DEC. 13, 2017 (print title: “What Democrats Owe Black Voters,” 12/14/17). Doug Jones, now Senator from Alabama, owed his upset victory to Black voters (despite a state voter ID law designed to cut down on Black participation). The lesson (conclusion of the article):

…To be competitive nationwide, Democrats need to fight voter ID laws, pass automatic voter registration, restore the Voting Rights Act to its full strength and work to re-enfranchise ex-felons, who deserve to be fully reintegrated into society. Democrats should also make policy appeals aimed at black voters and support promising black candidates like Stacey Abrams, who’s running for governor of Georgia in 2018.

The Alabama election results provide a great opportunity for the Democratic Party to make a stronger effort to reach out to black voters. We are just like white voters in that we like to be courted and told that our participation matters. If Democrats want to win more elections, they have to integrate black voters into the heart and soul of the party.

Dem turnout surge marks 2017 primary election

According to data presented by Bill Schoell at the 5/25/17 executive committee meeting, Democratic voters voted this year in much greater numbers than in the previous two off-year (non-presidential, non-gubernatorial) primary elections. The increase from 2013 to 2017 (Dems who voted as a % of registered Dems) was about 90%! (2017 figures are unofficial, 2013 and 2015 official.)


About 18% of Dems in the County voted in 2017, compared to 17% of R’s. This is a significant reversal of the usual D lag in turnout. Coupled with Hillary Clinton’s 25,000 margin in the County in November, this trend is very encouraging.

R voters cast more total ballots this year, by 1,869, but that is a lot less of an edge than one would expect from the R registration advantage of 19,352.

Of course Dems need to close that registration gap, but it is significant that R voters, after a long slow decline, now makes up only 44% of registrations, compared to about 38.5% for D’s and 17.5% I’s. I’s don’t vote much in primaries but the almost 60,000 of them can be a big factor in the fall… if they vote then.

Download the underlying spreadsheet here: Primary 2017 Chesco reg + turnout BSchoell

Democrats see massive turnout boost in primaries

By Mike McGann, The Times of Chester County, 5/17/17

Tuesday’s primaries settled a handful of races, while setting the stage for the fall election battles, as Democratic turnout was noticeably higher than seen in the same primary four years ago — in part because of high profile primaries for the West Chester Mayoral seat, as well as a hotly contested District Justice race in the Kennett/Unionville area.

While more Republicans cast more ballots in 2017 than in 2013 by a 25,594-22,727 margin, it was Democrats who saw a dramatic spike, going from just 12,402 ballots cast in 2013 to 23,725 this year. Although the GOP maintains a 19,000 advantage in registered voters, Democratic voter activation in what is typically the lowest attended Election Day suggests that the fall county row races may well be in play for the first time in more than a generation, as the county’s independent voters typically do not split evenly between GOP and Democrat support, typically favoring the latter….

keep reading at The Times of Chester County