Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that the United States had itself a midterm election on November 6. While the results of some of the elections are still in question, the clearest result of all was the steep increase in voter turnout. Yes, the 2018 election had the highest turnout of a midterm election since 1914, coming in at a whopping…. 49.2%?!
49.2% might not seem like a lot (and it’s not, compared to other democratic countries), but it looks a lot different when put into context. That’s why we’ve created this election dashboard to explore the voter turnout data more fully. We’ve compiled election data (courtesy of the United States Election Project) to show voter turnout by year, by state, by age, by education level, and by race.
Our election dashboard showcases data from every national election, both presidential and midterm, from 1980 to 2018. In charts that show relative turnout percentages (whether by state or by demographic, we opted to show the percentage of Voting Eligible Population (VEP). VEP is calculated by first taking the Voting Age Population (VAP) and reducing those residents who are ineligible to vote. The scatter plot in the bottom left of the dashboard tracks how these two values have changed over the years alongside turnout rates. Visibly, one can see that the two values have diverged significantly since 1980.
There are clear patterns that emerge when looking at this data; turnout is always lower during midterm elections than in presidential elections, for example. There also seems to be a clear correlation with age and the likelihood to vote. While the demographic data for the 2018 election will not officially be available until 2019, early speculation is that this particular pattern may have been broken. Early and absentee voting data showed a surge in youth vote, some states showing more than 100% increase in ballots cast. Time will tell if a similar increase was shown on Election Day 2018.
We invite you to interact with and explore this dashboard, though we realize that it is by no means comprehensive! No one dashboard can fully tell the story of an election, which is why there is a plethora of amazing data visualization available just a Google search away. Hopefully this special election dashboard will pique your interest and prompt you to do even more data exploration. Special thanks again to Professor Michael P. McDonald of the United States Election Project for his diligent data stewardship.