US Presidential election lowest voter turnout since 2000.
DESPITE the close contest, and the partisan atmosphere in American politics, 96 million people did not bother to voting in the latest US election.
With just 57.5% of eligible voters casting a ballot, it was the lowest turnout since 2000, when George W Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore, according to Wikipedia.
The turnout rate was lower than 2008 in all states except Iowa and Louisiana, which are both swing states.
Barack Obama secured the presidency with just under 63 million votes, but that was a third less than the number of people that didn’t vote at all.
“This was a major plunge in turnout nationally,” said Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate, in an interview with Salon.com.
“By and large, people didn’t show up.”
He said that the high use of negative campaign advertisements left many voters feeling turned off.
Minnesota’s turnout rate of 75% was the highest of all states, though according to CNN Politics this may have been assisted by the ballot there banning same-sex marriage, which failed.
Hawaii recorded the lowest turnout rate with just 44% of eligible voters turning out.
Besides Hawaii, which the Honolulu Advertiser says has a history of low voter turnout, the states with the lowest turnouts were West Virginia, New York, Oklahoma and Texas, all of which were considered ‘safe’ states for either Obama or Romney.
Seven states recorded their lowest turnouts since records began – Kansas, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia, and Hawaii.
Another reason for lower voter turnout in some states, according to the American University, was Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through the east coast of the United States just days before the election took place.
New York had 15% fewer voters than in 2008, and in New Jersey it was almost 12% less.
The Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance ranks the US 138th in the world for voter participation.