You have to go all the way back to 1908 to find a presidential election with higher participation rates.
The 2020 election saw record breaking voter turnout, with more Americans casting ballots this year than any other election in over 100 years.
Nearly 64% of Americans who were eligible to vote cast a ballot, the highest turnout since 1908. In recent years voter participation rates have fluctuated, but they are frequently five or more percentage points lower than the 2020 election.
In the 2016 election there was a 56% turnout among eligible voters, which was up slightly from the 2012 election. The highest turnout the country has seen in recent memory was in 2008, when 58% of eligible voters turned out, according to Pew Research Center.
Arizona State University Law School Prof. Larry Garber told COURIER in a previous interview that the high rate of voter turnout was no coincidence. Instead, Garber said it can be attributed to a conscious effort of campaigns spreading the word and getting people to the polls.
“A lot of their effort was focused on having a strong Election Day, a get out the vote effort and I think in many respects, it succeeded,” he said.
Across the country, state elections officials noted a smooth voting process. In Michigan, for example, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said poll workers were meticulously following every rule.
“I’m very confident in our work, I’m very confident in our processes and I’m very confident we’re going to continue counting the vote until every vote is counted in Michigan,” she said.
In Wisconsin officials reported no fraud. Counties in the state canvass their election results to ensure the integrity of their systems, Jonathan Sadowski wrote for Up North News on Nov. 12.
“Three-quarters of Wisconsin’s counties have now finished canvassing their election results, and the story remains the same: There was no widespread fraud, nor any significant irregularities in Wisconsin’s election,” he wrote.
In Arizona, which made its own history for voting for a Democrat for the first time in more than 20 years, local leaders are fighting against misleading information about voter fraud.
“There is this false narrative that the election can’t be trusted because there was widespread voter fraud intended to rig the election in November,” Roopali Desai told the Copper Courier.
“Therefore, the only way to vote safely and securely is in person where the process can be monitored. And it’s really important to recognize that this is a false narrative, that there really aren’t any facts to support this notion that the election can’t be trusted, that there’s widespread voter fraud.”
In Virginia, local elections officials also reported no issues on Election Day.
“We had no issues all day yesterday,” Andrew Conchran, the Roanoke Director of Elections and General Registrar, told Amie Knowles of the Dogwood. “Every ballot will be counted.”
The last time the United States saw turnout similar to this year’s election, there was a significantly smaller pool of voters. In 1908, the turnout rate was nearly 66%, but that was before women, Asian Americans and some Native Americans were even given the right to vote. And non-white Americans were discouraged from voting due to Jim Crow laws and intimidation.
This year, individual states saw even higher voter turnout than the overall average. States like Wisconsin and Minnesota saw turnout close to a whopping 80% and all but eight states are projected to see a turnout rate that exceeds the last 40 years.