Voter turnout was abysmally low during Tuesday’s midterm elections. Preliminary election data reveals that two-thirds of eligible voters stayed home on Election Day. Turnout among the voting-eligible population in the United States stood at a measly 36.6 percent nationwide.
Several states had far lower turnout.
Indiana ranked as the worst state in voter turnout. Only 1.35 million of the 4.8 million adults eligible to vote showed up to the polls on Tuesday, giving the state a horrifically low turnout rate of just 28 percent. Turnout was even lower among the voting age population at only 26.8 percent — barely 1 in 4 adults in the state.
Five other states had fewer than 30 percent of their eligible voters turn out to the polls: Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Indiana did not have a senate or governor’s race, although races for US Congressional seats, statewide offices (auditor, treasurer and secretary of state), and local races were on the ballot. This occurs every twelve years.
The historically low turnout cannot be blamed solely on the lack of a senate or governor’s race. The turnout for 2014 in Indiana was lower than any year on record, according to statistics compiled from the Secretary of State’s office (see chart below).
The Indiana Secretary of State’s office has only reported turnout among registered voters since 1998 — not the larger voting age population (VAP). We were forced to use the registered voter turnout for 1998-2010. All other years in this chart are for the voting age population.
In practical terms, this means that the numbers between 1998 and 2010 are somewhat inflated as turnout among voting age population is always lower than among the smaller body of registered voters. There are over 4.3 million registered voters in Indiana compared to 5 million adults who are among the voting age population. That’s roughly 700,000 people who are eligible but not registered.
Indiana also consistently ranks among the lowest turnout states during presidential years, although not nearly as bad as this year’s midterms.
Below, we have a chart of 2014 election turnout across all states: