10 States with the Highest Voter Turnout

Participation Rates Among Voting-Age Population

Vote sign
A sign instructs Floridians on where to vote in the 2012 primary. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News

Presidential candidates spend lots of time campaigning in states that hold the most electoral votes and where there are lots of swing voters – states such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

But campaigns also spend considerable time strategizing about which voters to appeal to, and where turnout is historically highest.Why bother campaigning in a place where only a small portion of voters will end up going to the polls?

Related Story: When Will the 2016 Presidential Campaign Begin?

So, which states have the highest voter turnout? Where is voter participation greatest in the United States?

Here a look based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Of note: Five of the 10 states with the highest voter participation are blue states, or those that tend to vote Democratic in presidential, gubernatorial and congressional elections.

Related: What is a Swing State?

Four of the 10 states listed below are red states, or those that tend to vote Republican. And one state, Iowa, is evenly split between Republicans and Democrat.

1. Minnesota

Minnesota is considered a blue state, or one that tends to vote Democratic, Since 1980, 73.2 percent of the voting-age population there has cast ballots in the nine presidential elections, according to the Census Bureau.

Related: 5 Things That are More Patriotic Than Voting

Minnesota voters are, by far, the most politically active in the United States.

2. Wisconsin

Like Minnesota, Wisconsin is a blue state. Over the course of the nine most recent presidential elections, the median voter participation was 71.2 percent, according to the Census.

3. Maine

This Democratic-leaning state has had a voter-participation rate of 69.4 percent from the 1980 presidential election through the 2012 presidential election.

4. District of Columbia

The nation's capital is heavily Democratic in voter registration. Since 1980, 69.2 percent of the voting-age population in Washington, D.C., has cast ballots in the nine presidential elections, according to the Census Bureau.

Related: How to Tell If You're a Swing Voter

5. Mississippi

This solidly Republican southern state has seen 68 percent of its voters participate in presidential elections, according to Census surveys.

6. South Dakota

South Dakota is a red state. Its voter participation rate in presidential elections is 67.8 percent. 

7. Utah

Roughly the same portion of voters head to the polls in Utah, another red state, for presidential elections. Its median participation rate in the nine most recent elections is 67.8 percent.

8. Oregon

Just over two-thirds, or 67.6 percent of voting-age adults, has participated in presidential elections in this blue Pacific Northwest state since 1980.

9. North Dakota

This red state has seen 67.5 percent of its voters go to the polls in presidential elections.

10. Iowa

Iowa, home of the famous Iowa Caucuses, boasts a voter-participation rate of 67.4 percent in presidential elections. The state is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

A note about the data: The voter participation rates are derived from information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau every two years as part of its Current Population Survey. We used median participation rates for voting-age populations by state for the nine presidential elections in 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.

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Murse, Tom. "10 States with the Highest Voter Turnout." ThoughtCo, Jun. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/states-with-the-highest-voter-turnout-3367684. Murse, Tom. (2017, June 20). 10 States with the Highest Voter Turnout. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/states-with-the-highest-voter-turnout-3367684 Murse, Tom. "10 States with the Highest Voter Turnout." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/states-with-the-highest-voter-turnout-3367684 (accessed January 20, 2018).