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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Turnout Data

Earlier posts analyzed recent census data on voter turnout. Indiana Public Media reports:
According to a survey recently released by the Census Bureau, Indiana had one of the four lowest voter turnout rates in the U.S. for the 2010 midterm elections. Just under 40 percent of Hoosiers turned out to vote compared to about 45 percent nationwide.

Indiana State University political science professor Matthew Bergbower says rules regarding same-day registration, early voting, and ID requirements could cause Indiana to be considered a “voter un-friendly” state. He says the public’s interest in individual campaigns is also key.

“If you have a state that has a lot of competitive races, you may get a lot of voter turnout that’s high,” he says. “But if you have states that don’t have competitive races—at the presidential level all the way down to senate and governor races—then voters may not seem like they need to turn out to vote because they already know who the winner is going to be.”

Indiana University Professor Margie Hershey says people should be careful when analyzing census data. She says the statistics are based on how many people said they voted not whether they actually did.

“In fact, the overall turnout rate appears to be closer to 40 percent than 45 percent, which means that 5 percent of people fibbed,” she says.

Hershey says it is hard to tell how honest Hoosiers were, so the gap between state and national averages may or may not be as large as it seems.