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|Dept. of Administration / Office of Geographic and Demographic Analysis|
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Indicator 3 4 : Voter turnout
Goal: People will participate in government and politics. This goal reflects Minnesotans' desire for open and representative government, as well as the belief that broad-based and energetic citizen participation in the political process and civic affairs is a sign of a healthy democracy.
Rationale: High voter turnout is an indicator that people are interested and believe they can make a difference in government.
About this indicator: Minnesota's voter turnout is the highest in the nation, and remained fairly consistent in presidential and congressional elections during the past decade. Turnout is typically highest during presidential election years. Sixty-nine percent of the eligible voting-age population cast ballots in the 2000 presidential election, a higher percentage than in 1996. Grant County had the highest turnout in the November 2000 election, at 80 percent.
Gubernatorial elections take place in even-numbered years between presidential elections. Turnout was 60 percent in the 1998 gubernatorial election, an increase of 7 percentage points from 1994.
For comparison: Voter turnout in Minnesota typically runs at least 15 percentage points above the national average. National voter turnout in the 2000 presidential election was 51 percent, compared to 69 percent in Minnesota.
Things to think about: Voter turnout is typically lowest among young adults age 18 to 24. Encouraging this group to vote and participate in politics is a challenge facing state and local governments. Voting is only one form of political participation. Other important kinds of involvement include calling or writing elected officials, serving on task forces or committees, volunteering in campaigns and making financial contributions to candidates or political parties.
Technical notes: Voter turnout is expressed as a percentage of the population age 18 and older, using estimates from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. This slightly overestimates the number of eligible voters because it includes people who are not U.S. citizens and convicted felons who are not eligible to vote. Voter turnout appears higher when expressed as a percentage of registered voters. Approximately 92 percent of Minnesota's voting-age population was registered to vote in the 2000 presidential election, resulting in a turnout rate of 75 percent of registered voters.
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