NC in Focus: Registration & Voting, 2014

 

“Since 1978, voting rates have been consistently higher in presidential election years than in congressional election years. In 2014, the overall voting rate was the lowest for a congressional election since the CPS first asked about voting and citizenship status in 1978. At 41.9 percent, the 2014 turnout rate was 3.6 percentage points lower than in 2010 and 5.9 percentage points lower than in 2006.” – Thom File, “Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1978-2014

According to the 2014 November Current Population Survey, North Carolina had just over 7.4 million individuals of voting-age (18+). Of these, nearly 6.9 million or 92.5% were citizens, meaning they were eligible to vote. This is slightly higher than the national share of voting-eligible adults (91.7%). Across the states, the proportion of voting-eligible adults ranges from 84.2% in California to 99.4% in West Virginia. North Carolina has the 16th highest share of non-citizen adults.

In North Carolina, both citizen registration rates and citizen voting rates were above the national average in the November 2014 election.

Registration and Voting Rates_US v NC_2014

Among the 6.9 million voting-eligible adults, nearly 4.8 million or 70% were registered to vote in 2014. Nationally, just under 65% of adult citizens were registered to vote. North Carolina had the 13th highest rate of citizen voter registration among the states. Maine had the highest registration rates (76.5%) while Hawaii reported the lowest rates (51.3%).

Only about two of every three North Carolina registered voters (66.3%) showed up to vote on Election Day, however. In total, fewer than half (46%) of North Carolina’s adult citizens cast a ballot in November 2014. This is higher than the national average (42%) but the 20th highest turnout among the states.

Maine had the highest share of citizen voting (62%). It was the only state where more than 60% of citizens voted in the 2014 congressional election. This reflected both its high registration rates and relatively high turnout among registered voters (80%).

In contrast, only one in every three West Virginia citizens cast a ballot in the 2014 November election. This reflected a combination of below average citizen registration rates (62%) and low turnout: only 54% of registered voters showed up at the polls on Election Day.

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