Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Rank of Maine, Election Turnout

Presidential Rank VoteTurnout
1992  72.0%- 1 – 1996  64.1%
2000  72.0%-
2016 72.9%-
2
2
– 2008 70.1%
– 2012 62.1%
1984  64.7%- 3 – 2004  73.4%
1988  61.1%- 4 – 2002  73.4%
5
1976  63.7%- 6
7
1980  65.4%- 8
9
10
11
12
1990  64.7%- 13
1998  44.0%- 14
15
16
17
18
1968  66.4%- 19
20
1960  71.7%- 21 -1972  60.1%
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
1964  65.1%- 29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50

For half a century, Maine has had a relatively high voter turnout in presidential elections. In every presidential election from 1960 to 2008, Maine’s turnout, based on its voting age population, has exceeded the national average, frequently by 10% or more. In 2012 it was again ranked second (to perennial rival Minnesota by 0.4%) as it was in 2000 and 2008.

Explaining Maine’s high turnout, the Christian Science Monitor noted,

Maine was the first state to institute same-day registration in 1973, which is a main reason for its 62.1 percent average turnout. But not all politicians support the policy.

Republicans in the state legislature amended the state’s voter registration laws, requiring that new voters register two business days before the election. Gov. Paul LePage approved the amendment in June 2011.

But opponents of the amendment – forming the Protect Maine Votes coalition – worked to put a question on the 2011 referendum ballot, gathering more than 70,000 signatures in less than a month, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Question 1 on the referendum election ballot asked: “Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?” Mainers voted 60 percent in favor of repealing the amendment, restoring the state’s same-day registration system.

In the 2016 election, Maine ranked 2nd among the states in the percent of voter eligible people who ballots were counted. Rival Minnesota was 1st at 74.7% and New Hampshire was 3rd at 72.6%. Maine’s 72.9% delivered second place.

YEAR RANK MAINE U.S.
Presidential Elections      1=Highest
Percent Voting Aged Population Who Voted1
19602 21 71.7% 62.8%
19642 29 65.1% 61.9%
19682 19 66.4% 60.8%
19722 21 60.1% 55.2%
19762 6 63.7% 53.6%
1980 8 64.5% 52.6%
1984 3 64.7% 53.1%
1988 4 61.1% 50.1%
1990 13 64.7% 45.0%
1992 1 72.0% 55.2%
1996 1 64.1% 49.0%
19982 14 44.0% 36.4%
2000 2 69.9% 50.4%
20023 4 49.7% 39.5%
2004 3 73.4% 60.9%
2008 2 70.1% 56.8%
2012 2 62.1% 51.6%
2016 2 72.9% 60.0%

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1 Unless otherwise noted, “Prepared by Democracy North Carolina” (Carrboro, NC 4/2003) from Election Data Services, Washington DC [202-789-2004] for 1980 through 1996, and from the US Census and Federal Elections Commission for 2000. Internet site accessed February 19, 2004: http://www.democracy-nc.org/improving/voterturnout.pdf

2 Federal Election Commission. Internet site accessed February 19, 2004: http://www.fec.gov/pages/reg&to98.htm

3 Center for Voting and Democracy. Internet site accessed February 19, 2004: http://www.fairvote.org/dubdem/turnout.htm (50 states, District of Columbia not included)

Additional resources

Hill, David Lee. American Voter Vurnout: An Institutional Perspective. Boulder, Co. Westview Press c2006. [University of Southern Maine (Portland). The Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library]

McDonald, Michael P. United States Election Project. “2016 November General Election Turnout Rates.” http://www.electproject.org/2016g (accessed January 13, 2017)

Potholm, Christian P. Maine Election Outcomes and Anlysis: 1900-2008. Maine.  Christian P. Potholm. c2010. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

Terry, Alison.  “Voter turnout: the 6 states that rank highest, and why.” Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/2012/1106/Voter-turnout-the-6-states-that-rank-highest-and-why/Maine (accessed December 18, 2012)

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