Top 10 States With the Highest Voter Turnout

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Presidential candidates spend considerable amounts of time campaigning in states that hold the most electoral votes and swing states such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

But campaigns also strategize which voters to appeal to based on 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?

So, which states have the highest voter turnout? Where is voter participation greatest in the United States? Here's a list of the 10 states with the highest historic voter turnout rates compiled using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Of note: Six of the 10 states with the highest voter participation are blue states, or those that tend to vote for Democrats in presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional elections. Four of the 10 states listed below are red states, or those that tend to vote Republican.

Minnesota

Minnesota is considered a blue state. Since 1972, 72.3% of the voting-age population there has cast ballots in presidential elections, according to the Census Bureau.

Minnesota voters are the most politically active in the United States.

Wisconsin

Like Minnesota, Wisconsin is a blue state. In presidential elections taking place between 1972 and 2016, the median voter participation was 71%.

Maine

This Democratic-leaning state had a voter-participation rate of 70.9% from the 1972 presidential election through the 2016 presidential election.

North Dakota

This red state has seen 68.6% of its voters go to the polls in past presidential elections.

Iowa

Iowa, home of the famous Iowa Caucuses, boasts a voter-participation rate of 68% in presidential elections. The state is almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats but leans slightly Republican, as of 2020.

Montana

This solidly Republican Northwestern state has seen 67.2% of its voters participate in past presidential elections, according to Census surveys.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a blue state. Its voter participation rate in presidential elections is 67%.

Oregon

Approximately two-thirds, or 66.4%, of voting-age adults have participated in presidential elections in this blue Pacific Northwest state since 1972.

Missouri

Missouri, another blue state, has a median participation rate of 65.9%.

South Dakota

South Dakota, which leans Republican, has seen 65.4% of voters participate in elections between 1972 and 2016.

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., is not a state, but if it were, it would be fourth on this list. The nation's capital is heavily Democratic. Since 1972, 68% of the voting-age population there has cast ballots in presidential elections.

A note about the data: These 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 all presidential elections between 1972 and 2016.

View Article Sources
  1. Arkin, James, et al. "The Battleground: These States Will Determine the 2020 Election." Politico, 8 Sep. 2020.

  2. "Party Affiliation by State (2014)." Pew Research Center.

  3. "Historical Reported Voting Rates." United States Census Bureau.