Politics

2008 Turnout Highest Since 1968

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The latest estimate of turnout in the 2008 General Election says that turnout was at the highest level it’s been since Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey:

Ahead of today’s vote of the electoral college to certify Barack Obama as the president-elect, a George Mason University professor announced yesterday that voter turnout in last month’s presidential election reached the highest level in 40 years, with a record number of Americans casting ballots.

Final figures from nearly every state and the District of Columbia showed that more than 131 million people voted. A little more than 122 million voted in the 2004 presidential election.

This year’s total amounts to 61.6 percent of eligible voters, the highest turnout rate since 1968, when Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey, said Michael P. McDonald, a political science professor at GMU.

It was the third straight increase in presidential election turnout, encouraging news for those who have warned about voter apathy. Four years ago, 60.1 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

“We seem to have restored the levels of civic engagement that we had in the 1950s and 1960s,” McDonald said. “But we didn’t break those levels.”

McDonald’s U.S. Elections Project calculated turnout rates based on the number of eligible voters among adult U.S. citizens. States finished certifying their election results this weekend, including California on Saturday.

Will the trend continue? Check back in 2012.