Highest Voter Turnout in Presidential Election Ever

Voter turnout for the 2020 presidential election was at an all-time high. Picture by: Elijah Nouvelage

Former Vice President Joe Biden officially won the 2020 election. The state of Pennsylvania has announced that Biden won the state by half a percent. Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral college votes pushed Biden over the edge, giving him 273 electoral college votes to President Trump’s 214 electoral votes.  

But this election also brought the highest voter turnout the United States has ever seen with more than 160 million people – almost two-thirds of the registered voters – voting this year. This election also broke the record for having the highest turnout rate since 1900. There were twice the number of in-person early votes this year in comparison to the 2016 election with more than 100 million people casting their ballots by mail-in or early in-person voting. Most people said that this election matters to them more than any previous election, stating that the coronavirus pandemic, social justice, the economy, immigration, health care, and the environment as reasons that led them to  vote.

Although we had a record number of voters in this year’s election, our numbers still don’t compare favorably to other democratic countries. We had a turnout of 65.0% of eligible voters in this election, but Mexico had a turnout of 66.0% in 2018, France had 67.9 of their eligible voters in 2017, Germany had 69.1% in 2017, Israel had 77.9% in 2020, South Korea had 77.9% in 2017, and Sweden had a whopping 82.1% in 2018. Sweden, in specific, made their election day a Sunday so the largest number of voters possible could to vote. 

Regardless of the States’ inability to get a 70% voter turnout rate, many states have hit historic milestones with their votes. Texas, in specific, had their highest voter turnout since 1992Even though red states like Texas had a major increase in voter turnout, there were still plenty of blue states and counties and not enough red states and counties. Minnesota, a typically blue state, stayed blue this year. However, there are quite a few counties in Minnesota that voted for Trump. Wright County had 94.3% of their registered voters come out and vote, and 90% of those votes were for President Trump. Sherburne County, Minnesota, had 92% of their registered voters vote and ultimately gave President Trump that county, as well. Regardless of the high number of votes for President Trump, there were plenty more for President-Elect Biden. 

Millions of people who were never eligible voters before this election came out to vote, including millions of young people who finally turned 18 and millions of naturalized citizens. One in every ten eligible voters was part of Gen Z, which is around 24 million people. Gen Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation and is on track to be the most well-educated generation. They are progressive, pro-government, see the country’s growing racial and ethnic diversity as a good thing, and are less likely to think the United States is superior to other nations. Overall, Gen Z tends to be more liberal-leaning than other generations. Because of this, there were millions of new votes for President-Elect Biden. A total of 77% of the eligible Gen Z voters disapproved of President Trump’s administration, which was also a large reason for so many Democratic Gen Z votes. Another 10% of eligible voters in this election were naturalized citizens, which is almost 23 million U.S. immigrants. 

Another reason why President-Elect Biden won was that 34% of registered voters identify as independents, 33% as democrats, and 29% as republicans. 49% of registered independent voters vote for the Democratic party and 44% vote for the Republican party. Because so many people came out to vote for President-Elect Biden, he earned the most votes any presidential candidate has ever earned, which exceeded President Obama’s record of 69.5 million votes, which, at the time, was the most votes any presidential candidate has ever earned. However, President Obama still does not hold the second-place record, as President Trump surpassed President Obama’s record, too. President-Elect Biden won the popular vote with more than 75 million votes, while President Trump lost the popular vote with almost 71 million votes. 

About the Author

Lily Powell
Lily Powell is a sophomore from Channahon, IL. She is a new staff writer for the Acronym. Find her in 06D to be blown away by some great guitar-playing, hear about whale documentaries, and get recommendations for the best novels.

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