3rd UPDATE, NOV 8 The number of votes counted after Nov. 4 has already shattered all records. But the turnout rate appears to be shy of a new record. We won’t know until January.
Some things we do know: 22 of 47 states studied showed increases in turnout this year and Southern states set the biggest records.
The greatest increase in overall turnout was in North Carolina, where 9.4 percent more voters turned out, a record high. Georgia also had a record high turnout, up 6.7 percent, as did South Carolina with a 6.0 percentage point gain. Others setting new records included Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.
The dramatic increases are attributed to a dramatic rise in Democratic — and especially African-American — voters. North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia recorded huge gains for Democratic voters.
2nd UPDATE, NOV 5: The overall share of young people in the population voting ticked up a bit, but the youth turnout numbers is not yet available. This figure is the only one which will show if there was an increased percentage turnout of youth voters this year. The youth share as a portion of the total turnout has stayed about the same, 17%, since 1996 because more people of every age have voted. However, youth turnout has grown, from 37% in 1996, to 41% in 2000, to 47% in 2004.
UPDATE: Americans turned out at the polls in record numbers today — unprecedented since women were given the right to vote in 1920. Secretaries of state estimated turnouts may be up to 80 percent or more in big states like Ohio, California, Texas, Missouri, Virginia. Colorado and Maryland.
Some thoughts from me on election day:
There is a decency that comes through on election day… and an indecency surrounding politics in general that must end. I hope all Americans will start treating others who are of an opposing political party with the respect and benefit of the doubt that is hopeful.
Congratulations to the grassroots of American politics who Got Out the Vote while campaigned decently for their candidate. May we come together in a spirit of improvement and solve our problems while being respectful of each other. Congratulations to John McCain for a gracious concession speech, a wonderful step toward this end.
Enthisiasm which is positive is a powerful force!
(photo by geri – Obama speaks to Manassas crowd of more than 80,000, November 3, 2008)