Originally published in The Fulcrum.
“Four years ago, when the nation headed to the polls in the middle of Donald Trump’s divisive term as president, half of eligible voters cast a ballot. Last week, preliminary data shows overall turnout was down a few percentage points. But some states saw an increase in voter participation.
According to preliminary data collected by the U.S. Election Project, three states reached 60 percent turnout in 2022: Minnesota (60.6), Maine (60.9) and Wisconsin (60.2). While none of the three are pure vote-by-mail states, each offers no-excuse absentee voting; both Minnesota and Wisconsin featured competitive races at the top of their ballots.
The top 10 states also included three vote-by-mail states and the only two that use ranked-choice voting for state and federal elections.
The U.S. Election Project estimates overall turnout at 46.9 percent, down from 50 percent four years ago.
“A slightly lower turnout in 2022 relative to 2018 is still quite high relative to recent history (where turnout was low 40s or high 30s) so it may well be this year is just a slight downturn in an overall trend toward greater participation,” said Kevin Johnson, executive director of the Election Reformers Network.
In addition to Maine, RCV is used in Alaska, which debuted its new election system this year. The Last Frontier was sixth in preliminary turnout at 57.0 percent. The three vote-by-mail states with the highest turnout were Colorado, Oregon and Vermont, which both exceeded 55 percent. Oregon also had a competitive race for governor.”