Who is Voting? Some National Numbers Reflect Local Realities

With voting registration deadlines for the November election drawing near, statistics from previous elections tell us how people register and their likelihood of registering and voting. It’s gotten higher, and could well hit an all-time participation level with the coming ballot.

The classic definition of a ‘swing voter’ used to be someone who sometimes voted Republican and sometimes voted Democratic; recently, it’s come to mean a voter who sometimes votes Democratic, and sometimes doesn’t vote. Many of those swing voters showed up for the mid-terms, and it’s expected many more will vote in November. The midterm election of 2018 set record-breaking turnout for a congressional election, with a historic 11 percentage point increase from the last midterm election in 2014.

Voter turnout went up among all voting age and major racial and ethnic groups.

In recent elections, more than one in four registered voters said they registered through their department of motor vehicles. Other common ways, including registering in person at local government offices or mailing in a form to the election office, have declined over the past three elections while online registration has doubled since 2014.

In the last presidential election, 70% of the voting-eligible population registered to vote. This varied by state. In 2018 California had one of the widest ranges in voting rates across its 53 congressional districts, from 61.5% in the 18th District (Palo Alto,, San Jose) to 32.0% in the 21st District (Fresno, Bakersfield, ) a difference of nearly 30 percentage points.

Most registered voters vote. Nationally, 61% of the citizen voting-age population said they voted in 2016, ranging from a high of 73% in Maine to a low of 47% in Hawaii. That means, on average almost 9 in 10 registered voters cast a ballot.

In Culver City, the voters have moved from being majority Republican to majority Democratic over the last three Presidential elections, with the Democtratic lead getting bigger on each ballot. The upcoming election will likely see an even bigger shift towards Democratic candidates. As with many areas of the country, even traditionally Republican areas such as Arizona and Texas as polling more Democratic.

How much of a shift we will see locally depends only on how many vote.

The deadline to register online in California is October 19, but you can also register in person on Election Day at a Voting Center.

Judith Martin-Straw

Statistics from US Census Bureau

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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