States with the highest and lowest rates of voter registration

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October 1, 2020
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States with the highest and lowest rates of voter registration

It might seem like Election Day is still far away, but Nov. 3 will roll around before we know it. And amid all the election news, campaign ads playing nonstop on TV, and fierce debates happening on social media, it’s all too easy to miss out on a date that’s arguably just as important as Election Day itself: voter registration deadlines.

These dates vary from state to state. In Alaska and Arkansas, for example, voter registration forms must be postmarked 30 days before Election Day, while California has the requirement set for 15 days before Election Day. You can check your state’s voter registration deadlines at Vote.org.

Even though voter registration deadlines are relatively easy to find, they pass by without many Americans even realizing it. In fact, only around 157.6 million Americans were registered to vote in 2016, and just 153.07 million were registered in 2018, according to Census data via Statista.

What’s more, even fewer people actually voted in those elections. This report from April 23, 2019, shows that about 53.4% of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2018, and one from May 17, 2017, shows that 61.4% of eligible voters participated in the 2016 election. With such an intense presidential election coming up in just a few weeks, politicians and everyday citizens are keeping a close eye on the voter rolls in every state. So how have states done in the past when it comes to voter registration?

Stacker used data from the U.S. Census Bureau Voting and Registration database, updated every two years, to rank the states based on their rates of voter registration and voting. Each state is ranked by percent of people registered to vote in 2018, and ties are broken by the number of people who actually voted that year. Since 2018 was a midterm election year, Stacker also included voter registration and voting statistics from the last presidential election in 2016. Since 2020 voter registration is currently underway, these former statistics can paint a picture of the likely percentage of a state’s population that will turn out on Election Day.

Wondering how your state’s voter rolls are faring ahead of the November general election? Click through to see which states have the lowest and highest rates of voter registration.

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#51. Hawaii

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,057,000
--- Population registered to vote: 523,000 (49.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 427,000 (40.4% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,064,000
--- Population registered to vote: 530,000 (49.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 460,000 (43.3% of total voting-age population)

In previous years, the Hawaii Office of Elections has helped support voter registration through booths at popular events like the Waikiki Spam Jam Festival and the Filipino Festival. However, its staff stop short of encouraging people to cast a vote, as it could appear partisan, said Honolulu City Clerk Glenn Takahashi in a 2018 article in the Honolulu Civil Beat. The state is sending all registered voters a ballot by mail this year.

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#50. California

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 30,243,000
--- Population registered to vote: 15,690,000 (51.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 13,240,000 (43.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 29,894,000
--- Population registered to vote: 16,096,000 (53.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 14,416,000 (48.2% of total voting-age population)

Some progressive groups in California, such as Acronym, are taking their voter registration drives online during the pandemic, using TikTok and Instagram to target young Latinos and Black Americans, according to the Los Angeles Times. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the Latino Community Federation held a series of voter pop-ups with live entertainment and neighborhood canvasses to get people registered to vote for California’s March 3 primary.

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#49. Nevada

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,324,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,277,000 (55.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,006,000 (43.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,234,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,371,000 (61.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,195,000 (53.5% of total voting-age population)

Nevada implemented automatic voter registration through its Department of Motor Vehicles this year. In an effort to continue boosting voter registration ahead of the 2020 election, groups like the League of Women Voters and the Nevada State Democratic Party planned online events for National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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#48. Texas

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 21,064,000
--- Population registered to vote: 11,634,000 (55.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 8,886,000 (42.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 20,172,000
--- Population registered to vote: 11,724,000 (58.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 9,626,000 (47.7% of total voting-age population)

Texas has not passed new laws allowing citizens to register to vote on the internet, despite the pandemic, reports the Texas Tribune. Groups that usually hold in-person voter registration events, like MOVE Texas, which typically sends volunteers to Mooov-In Day at the University of Texas at Austin, have had to cancel their plans during the COVID-19 crisis. Activist groups are now hosting phone banks in an effort to register hundreds of thousands of people to vote.

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#47. New York

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 15,478,000
--- Population registered to vote: 8,553,000 (55.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 6,775,000 (43.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 15,506,000
--- Population registered to vote: 9,142,000 (59.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 7,869,000 (50.7% of total voting-age population)

YMCA locations in New York City did their part helping people register to vote through on-site events on Sept. 22 this year, just as it has done in previous years, according to PIX11. In the past, groups have seen success registering new voters at naturalization ceremonies at federal courthouses in New York State, but many of those efforts have been put on hold during the pandemic, reports City Limits.

 

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#46. Arkansas

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,261,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,262,000 (55.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 919,000 (40.6% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,216,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,456,000 (65.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,241,000 (56.0% of total voting-age population)

In mid-September, an organization called Arkansas Votes hosted a drive-through voter registration event in Rogers, according to KNWA. The League of Women Voters in Washington County also planned a series of voter registration events in the northwestern part of the state in September at locations such as Starbucks, farmers markets, churches, and public libraries.

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#45. Florida

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 16,845,000
--- Population registered to vote: 9,435,000 (56.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 7,918,000 (47.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 16,202,000
--- Population registered to vote: 9,604,000 (59.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 8,578,000 (52.9% of total voting-age population)

Michael Bloomberg and John Legend were among the donors who have helped Florida Rights Restoration Coalition raise more than $20 million to help pay off court debts on behalf of felons in Florida to help them become eligible to vote in the 2020 election, writes Politico. Florida’s Department of State also announced in mid-September that it would mail postcards to 2.2 million people who meet eligibility requirements to vote but have not yet registered, hoping to add them to the voter rolls, according to The News Service of Florida.

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#44. Idaho

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,299,000
--- Population registered to vote: 743,000 (57.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 587,000 (45.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,224,000
--- Population registered to vote: 790,000 (64.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 714,000 (58.3% of total voting-age population)

Amid an uptick in voter registrations and concerns about the coronavirus, the Idaho Secretary of State has launched a #VoteEarlyIdaho campaign to encourage voters to cast their ballots ahead of Election Day, reports KTVB7. The nonpartisan group What The Vote Idaho is also trying to get younger people registered by encouraging teachers in the state to play a video about the importance of elections in their classrooms, according to Public News Service.

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#43. New Mexico

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,576,000
--- Population registered to vote: 916,000 (58.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 715,000 (45.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,547,000
--- Population registered to vote: 916,000 (59.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 765,000 (49.4% of total voting-age population)

High school seniors in New Mexico are trying to register 18 year olds to vote in the 2020 election by connecting with school districts across the state and hosting virtual rallies, according to KRQE. The University of New Mexico has also hosted in-person voter registration events on its campus.

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#42. Arizona

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,361,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,262,000 (60.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,800,000 (52.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,196,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,145,000 (60.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,769,000 (53.3% of total voting-age population)

From town halls and phone banks to drive-through voter registration events, a number of initiatives have been trying to register Arizonans to vote ahead of the deadline for the 2020 election, reports Fox10 Phoenix. The state also implemented a new policy that allows residents to register to vote online even if they don’t have a traditional street address, which is being hailed as a step in the right direction to empower tribal communities, according to the Navajo-Hopi Observer.

 

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#41. Colorado

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,353,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,645,000 (60.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,342,000 (53.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,242,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,893,000 (68.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,707,000 (63.8% of total voting-age population)

The NAACP has been trying to register more Black people in Colorado to vote in the upcoming election through canvassing at barbershops, nursing homes, and even in neighborhoods, as well as an event at a cafe in Denver, reports CBS Denver. New Era Colorado has also been making an effort to boost voter registrations in the state, particularly among young adults. The group has been using social media and Zoom conference calls to reach its target demographic, reports KOAA.

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#40. Connecticut

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,834,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,726,000 (60.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,370,000 (48.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,759,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,763,000 (63.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,586,000 (57.5% of total voting-age population)

A variety of groups, including the League of Women Voters of CT, the Urban League of Southern Connecticut, the New Haven Free Public Library, the NAACP, and the Kennedy Center, teamed up in mid-September to throw an event in New Haven that encouraged people to register to vote and fill out the census, per the New Haven Independent. The East Shore chapter of the League of Women Voters also held an event at the Soundview Family YMCA in Branford on Sept. 22 to hand out registration forms to prospective voters.

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#39. Tennessee

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,202,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,183,000 (61.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,487,000 (47.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,057,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,251,000 (64.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,630,000 (52.0% of total voting-age population)

September was filled with events aimed at getting out the vote in Tennessee. In Nashville, the Urban League of Tennessee held a drive-through voter registration event, while Partners in Struggle held its own event near Fisk University in collaboration with a couple of African American-owned businesses, reports News Channel 5 Nashville. In Hamilton County, prospective voters could register at events hosted by the League of Women Voters and Cleveland State Community College on Sept. 22, according to News Channel 9 ABC.

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EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ // Getty Images

#38. New Jersey

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,009,000
--- Population registered to vote: 4,297,000 (61.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,384,000 (48.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 6,862,000
--- Population registered to vote: 4,165,000 (60.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,665,000 (53.4% of total voting-age population)

NJPIRGs’ New Voters Project has been running a campaign throughout the fall to hold virtual events that encourage young adults to register to vote. On National Voter Registration Day, the group contacted more than 20,000 college students in New Jersey through emails, text messages, social media, and virtual announcements, reports Insider NJ.

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#37. Massachusetts

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,460,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,345,000 (61.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,731,000 (50.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,374,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,660,000 (68.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,315,000 (61.7% of total voting-age population)

Students from Westfield State University have been trying to increase voter turnout in Western Massachusetts through social media campaigns and virtual events in September, according to Western Mass News. Spark the Vote has also been working on a campaign to get marijuana users to cast their ballots in the 2020 election through outreach events at marijuana retail stores in states with legalized medical marijuana, including Massachusetts, per Marijuana Moment.

 

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#36. Georgia

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,850,000
--- Population registered to vote: 4,840,000 (61.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,084,000 (52.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,626,000
--- Population registered to vote: 4,892,000 (64.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,246,000 (55.7% of total voting-age population)

Volunteers flocked to Atlanta on National Voter Registration Day to increase the number of people on the voter rolls ahead of the 2020 election and encourage people to cast their ballots early, according to CBS 46. LeBron James and other athletes have also formed a collective called More Than a Vote that is working on recruiting young adults to work at polling sites in Black communities in Georgia and other swing states.

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#35. Nebraska

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,428,000
--- Population registered to vote: 883,000 (61.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 676,000 (47.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,407,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,008,000 (71.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 893,000 (63.4% of total voting-age population)

Nebraska’s Tri-City counties have been seeing above-average rates of people registering to vote ahead of the upcoming election, reports KSNB 4. Hall County Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet told the station that it may be due to a large number of petitions about issues of interest, like expanded gambling and medical marijuana, circulating in the community.

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#34. Oklahoma

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,868,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,777,000 (62.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,350,000 (47.1% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,923,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,861,000 (63.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,555,000 (53.2% of total voting-age population)

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been running preelection events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to help people register to vote, get information on voting, and submit requests for absentee ballots. Some of the team’s events have had a particular focus on recruiting members of the Hispanic community to get out the vote, and they’ve brought on translators to help at key events.

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#33. South Carolina

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,914,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,430,000 (62.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,836,000 (46.9% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,733,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,575,000 (69.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,233,000 (59.8% of total voting-age population)

In North Charleston, citizens have been able to register to vote and submit a request for an absentee ballot from their cars at drive-through events hosted by Your Vote Matters South Carolina and partner organizations, according to ABC4 News. Staff at the Union County Carnegie Library also helped people register to vote on Sept. 21–22 in honor of National Voter Registration Day, reports The Union Times.

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#32. Illinois

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 9,732,000
--- Population registered to vote: 6,068,000 (62.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,740,000 (48.7% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 9,723,000
--- Population registered to vote: 6,665,000 (68.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 5,719,000 (58.8% of total voting-age population)

The Illinois government website that accepts applications for voter registration crashed on Sept. 21 as a result of a threefold surge in the usual traffic, according to WCIA. It may have been spurred by efforts from activists and organizations to better prepare the state for the upcoming election. Emergency medicine doctors, communities of people in residential buildings, and young adult groups are among those who have organized events to get out the vote in Illinois.

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#31. Delaware

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 756,000
--- Population registered to vote: 472,000 (62.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 369,000 (48.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 729,000
--- Population registered to vote: 487,000 (66.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 417,000 (57.2% of total voting-age population)

Votamos/We Vote, a coalition of groups and officials like Network Delaware, the Wilmington NAACP, and the Delaware Lt. Governor’s office, has taken its efforts to educate underrepresented groups in Delaware about the importance of voting online through webinars, according to Delaware Public Radio. The organization has also been using text messages and WhatsApp to reach Spanish-speaking voters.

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#30. Wyoming

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 430,000
--- Population registered to vote: 268,000 (62.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 220,000 (51.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 436,000
--- Population registered to vote: 304,000 (69.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 277,000 (63.5% of total voting-age population)

Run by volunteers, Energize and Vote has been walking people through Wyoming’s voter registration process ahead of the election, writes the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. It has held events and supplied the photocopier needed to copy IDs for the voter registration application, and it also provided a notary.

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#29. Indiana

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,006,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,131,000 (62.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,364,000 (47.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,988,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,298,000 (66.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,795,000 (56.0% of total voting-age population)

The 10 East project has been getting in touch with people on Indianapolis’s east side, which has a high number of people who may be eligible to vote but are not yet registered, throughout September, according to IndyStar. It set up a temporary space where locals in the area can come to register to vote, check their status, and request an absentee ballot.

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#28. West Virginia

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,406,000
--- Population registered to vote: 892,000 (63.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 610,000 (43.4% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,434,000
--- Population registered to vote: 913,000 (63.6% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 723,000 (50.4% of total voting-age population)

The office of the West Virginia Secretary of State held a series of voter registration drives throughout the state on National Voter Registration Day. Earlier in the year, many high school seniors registered to vote en masse and even made a field trip to the courthouse in May to vote in the 2020 primaries, according to the The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register.

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#27. Rhode Island

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 828,000
--- Population registered to vote: 532,000 (64.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 403,000 (48.7% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 836,000
--- Population registered to vote: 538,000 (64.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 464,000 (55.5% of total voting-age population)

The Rhode Island Department of Education worked with DoSomething.org to include online voter registration drives as part of distance learning over the summer. The initiative helped high school students throughout the state volunteer to host virtual drives and build momentum for the upcoming election.

 

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#26. Utah

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,247,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,443,000 (64.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,214,000 (54.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,096,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,398,000 (66.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,234,000 (58.9% of total voting-age population)

Voto Latino Ogden has been reaching out to the Latino community in Ogden, Utah, to empower them to vote in the upcoming election, says the Standard-Examiner. They held voting registration events in late August and said they had more efforts in the pipeline.

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#25. Alaska

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 523,000
--- Population registered to vote: 337,000 (64.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 263,000 (50.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 518,000
--- Population registered to vote: 358,000 (69.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 308,000 (59.4% of total voting-age population)

Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who runs elections in the state, sent absentee ballot applications exclusively to voters over 65 years old, along with a letter urging them to vote, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The state says the effort was part of a broader goal of protecting public health amid the pandemic, but critics say the move violates the 26th Amendment, which does not allow age discrimination in voting.

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#24. Virginia

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 6,386,000
--- Population registered to vote: 4,159,000 (65.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,319,000 (52.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 6,343,000
--- Population registered to vote: 4,399,000 (69.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,973,000 (62.6% of total voting-age population)

Pharrell Williams helped organize a voter registration drive in Norfolk in September via his Something In The Water festival and VA For The People. It featured live music and food trucks to help draw young people and get them ready for the election.

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#23. North Carolina

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,911,000
--- Population registered to vote: 5,160,000 (65.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,899,000 (49.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,631,000
--- Population registered to vote: 5,194,000 (68.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,700,000 (61.6% of total voting-age population)

Carteret Community College in Morehead City teamed up with a local chapter of the League of Women Voters and a few other groups to hold a voter registration drive in mid-September, reports the Carteret County News-Times. Students at Duke University who are in favor of Joe Biden have also been using phone banking and text messages to engage with voters throughout the state, according to The Chronicle.

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#22. Pennsylvania

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 9,928,000
--- Population registered to vote: 6,469,000 (65.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 5,173,000 (52.1% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 9,980,000
--- Population registered to vote: 6,909,000 (69.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 6,008,000 (60.2% of total voting-age population)

The opening of a new Forman Mills location in North Philadelphia included a voter registration drive in mid-September as part of a broader effort to prepare Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots in November. A spokesperson for the company said that the drive helped make voter registration less intimidating for people who are new to the process.

 

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#21. Louisiana

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,458,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,263,000 (65.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,656,000 (47.9% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,463,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,446,000 (70.6% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,067,000 (59.7% of total voting-age population)

Goodwill held a voter registration drive at one of its stores in Shreveport from Sept. 14–18. In an effort to protect public health during the pandemic, the state is also hosting 10 days of early voting in mid-to-late October.

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#20. South Dakota

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 648,000
--- Population registered to vote: 429,000 (66.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 331,000 (51.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 631,000
--- Population registered to vote: 437,000 (69.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 362,000 (57.3% of total voting-age population)

A number of groups and businesses in Rapid City stepped up in late summer to increase the number of people on the voter rolls, reports News Center 1. The retail store Hippie Haven teamed up with the South Dakota American Civil Liberties Union to offer absentee applications and voter registration forms, along with stamps and envelopes, to historically disenfranchised communities. The Pennington County GOP also hosted a voter registration booth at the Central States Fair.

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI // Getty Images

#19. Maryland

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,666,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,095,000 (66.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,320,000 (49.7% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,623,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,114,000 (67.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,737,000 (59.2% of total voting-age population)

The League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and Mom’s Organic teamed up to host a voter registration drive in Baltimore on Sept. 22, National Voter Registration Day, reports the Baltimore Fishbowl. The Greater Baltimore Urban League also planned a series of drive-in voter registration events throughout the city in late September, according to Fox 45.

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Joe Raedle // Getty Images

#18. Alabama

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,753,00o
--- Population registered to vote: 2,490,000 (66.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,830,000 (48.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,717,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,526,000 (68.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,095,000 (56.4% of total voting-age population)

In mid-September, the League of Women Voters of Greater Tuscaloosa launched “a series of drive-through voter registration drives across” Tuscaloosa County, reports Tuscaloosa News. The Secretary of State in Alabama has said that 94% of all people eligible to vote in the state have registered in time for the 2020 election, writes WSFA.

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Getty Images

#17. Washington

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,775,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,852,000 (66.7% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,234,000 (56.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 5,592,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,906,000 (69.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,382,000 (60.5% of total voting-age population)

Ballot drop boxes have been set up on 10 tribal reservation lands in Washington, while 11 others have access to one within 5 miles as part of a greater effort to increase the rates of Native Americans voting in the state, according to Crosscut. The Seattle King County NAACP also planned a voter registration drive at a Safeway grocery store in Seattle on Sept. 22.

 

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JOSEPH PREZIOSO // Getty Images

#16. New Hampshire

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,080,000
--- Population registered to vote: 726,000 (67.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 576,000 (53.3% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,044,000
--- Population registered to vote: 763,000 (73.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 698,000 (66.9% of total voting-age population)

A legal opinion from June 2020 allowed New Hampshire to move forward with a plan to let anyone register to vote by mail if they are fearful that signing up in person could expose them to the coronavirus, per the New Hampshire Union Leader. Voters are still required to get a witness to watch them sign the paperwork.

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Whitney Curtis // Getty Images

#15. Kansas

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,149,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,449,000 (67.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,152,000 (53.6% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,142,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,438,000 (67.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,243,000 (58.0% of total voting-age population)

The Shawnee County government and local nonprofit groups are trying to allow more people in Kansas to register to vote through events at the Shawnee County Public Library, which will continue through mid-October, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. The League of Women Voters of Topeka and Shawnee County have also been helping high school seniors sign up to vote, as well as handing out bookmarks, yard signs, and door hangers with QR codes to help people check their status.

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Spencer Platt // Getty Images

#14. Vermont

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 503,000
--- Population registered to vote: 343,000 (68.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 273,000 (54.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 500,000
--- Population registered to vote: 351,000 (70.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 305,000 (61.0% of total voting-age population)

In Vermont, Brattleboro Food Co-Op partnered with National Voter Registration Day to help people register to vote on Sept. 22, reports The Commons. The state is also sending mail-in ballots for the November election to every registered voter in Vermont by Oct. 1, according to Valley News.

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John Sommers II // Getty Images

#13. Ohio

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 8,873,000
--- Population registered to vote: 6,062,000 (68.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,538,000 (51.1% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 8,811,000
--- Population registered to vote: 6,128,000 (69.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 5,408,000 (61.4% of total voting-age population)

The Greater Cleveland area held a number of voter registration drives in honor of National Voter Registration Day, including at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and the Sixth City Sailors Club, reports WKYC. Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse also partnered with Ilthy to launch a special VOTE apparel collection with sayings such as, “Cleveland turns up to vote” to help get people excited to vote.

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Alexandru Nika // Shutterstock

#12. Oregon

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,293,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,274,000 (69.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,918,000 (58.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,185,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,147,000 (67.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,942,000 (61.0% of total voting-age population)

The athletic department at the University of Oregon announced on National Voter Registration Day that 100% of its “student-athletes who are eligible to vote have registered for the election.” They aimed to take things one step further with a challenge to see which of the university’s sports teams could help register the most people to vote in late September and early October.

 

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Joshua Lott // Getty Images

#11. Iowa

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,376,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,658,000 (69.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,335,000 (56.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,394,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,657,000 (69.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,454,000 (60.7% of total voting-age population)

On Aug. 29, Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate told the Des Moines Register the state agencies were in the final stages of reviewing 90,000 felon database files to figure out which ones were eligible to vote. He added that they were developing a toolkit that organizations could use to get former felons registered for the upcoming election.

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#10. Washington DC

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 567,000
--- Population registered to vote: 397,000 (70.0% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 313,000 (55.2% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 553,000
--- Population registered to vote: 420,000 (75.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 380,000 (68.7% of total voting-age population)

Over the last two years, residents of Washington, D.C., could register to vote via the district’s proprietary Vote4DC app. However, the app was recently discontinued after a series of technical problems, according to an Aug. 18 article from DCist. Eligible residents can still take advantage of same-day voter registration in the district on the day of the election.

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Justin Sullivan // Getty Images

#9. Montana

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 822,000
--- Population registered to vote: 579,000 (70.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 518,000 (63.0% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 798,000
--- Population registered to vote: 581,000 (72.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 521,000 (65.2% of total voting-age population)

Volunteers from groups like the Forward Montana Foundation have been using phone calls and text messages to offer voters clarity about the mail-in elections in Western Montana, reports KPAX. Lewis and Clark County is also offering “drive-through/walk-up ballot drop boxes” at the City-County building closer to the election, according to the Independent Record.

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#8. Wisconsin

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,436,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,129,000 (70.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,776,000 (62.6% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,465,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,323,000 (74.4% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 3,068,000 (68.7% of total voting-age population)

The Badgers Vote Coalition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosted a voter registration drive over the course of three days on campus in early August as part of an effort to sign up students ahead of the election, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. Amid campus shutdowns, volunteers are also trying to connect with college students via social media.

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#7. Missouri

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,676,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,299,000 (70.6% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,509,000 (53.7% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,626,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,333,000 (72.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,906,000 (62.8% of total voting-age population)

Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City held voter registration drives in September, giving newly registered voters a chance to celebrate their status with a beer, according to KMBC News. Likewise, the Fulton NAACP also held voter registration events at farmers markets and a courthouse in the state.

 

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KEREM YUCEL // Getty Images

#6. Minnesota

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,238,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,000,000 (70.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,523,000 (59.5% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 4,190,000
--- Population registered to vote: 3,055,000 (72.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 2,738,000 (65.3% of total voting-age population)

The Minnesota Secretary of State began distributing mail-in ballots to registered voters in Minnesota on Sept. 18. The state has seen a rise in young voters signing up to vote ahead of the election, reports the StarTribune. Minnesota is among 20 states “where voter registration of youth between 18 and 24 is already 12% higher this election season compared with 2016,” according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

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Brett Carlsen // Getty Images

#5. Kentucky

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,370,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,389,000 (70.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,746,000 (51.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 3,348,000
--- Population registered to vote: 2,253,000 (67.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,850,000 (55.3% of total voting-age population)

Kentucky-based musicians have created a virtual music festival in an effort to encourage voter registration on Oct. 1, reports the Murray Ledger & Times. Last year, an executive order from Gov. Andy Beshear restored the right to vote for many felons, which may help further increase the number of voters on Kentucky’s rolls.

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Alexandru Nika // Shutterstock

#4. North Dakota

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 560,000
--- Population registered to vote: 397,000 (70.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 335,000 (59.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 583,000
--- Population registered to vote: 424,000 (72.8% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 362,000 (62.1% of total voting-age population)

North Dakota is the only state in the country that does not require voter registration. For the June election, the secretary of state sent mail-in ballot applications to hundreds of thousands of people. However, concerns over ballot applications that went out to ineligible voters (such as those who have moved to another state) have the state considering implementing a voter registration system in 2021, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

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JEFF KOWALSKY // Getty Images

#3. Michigan

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,657,000
--- Population registered to vote: 5,453,000 (71.2% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,418,000 (57.7% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 7,624,000
--- Population registered to vote: 5,434,000 (71.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 4,713,000 (61.8% of total voting-age population)

The Oakland County Clerk in Michigan used National Voter Registration Day stickers to reward people who signed up to vote at a registration drive on Sept. 22, according to the Macomb Daily. That same day in Houghton, Michigan Technological University had two booths on campus where students could get help registering to vote, reports The Daily Mining Gazette.

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#2. Mississippi

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,194,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,599,000 (72.9% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,180,000 (53.8% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 2,203,000
--- Population registered to vote: 1,725,000 (78.3% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 1,470,000 (66.7% of total voting-age population)

Prospective voters in Mississippi could register for the upcoming election through drives at three spots in Rankin County on Sept. 22, reports WJTV. A family in Biloxi also held its own voter registration drive on the same day in honor of a recently deceased relative who was a staunch voters’ rights advocate, writes WLOX.

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Portland Press Herald // Getty Images

#1. Maine

- 2018 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,074,000
--- Population registered to vote: 828,000 (77.1% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 693,000 (64.5% of total voting-age population)
- 2016 November election:
--- Total voting-age population: 1,058,000
--- Population registered to vote: 830,000 (78.5% of total voting-age population)
--- Population who voted: 754,000 (71.3% of total voting-age population)

Voter registration applications were scattered throughout locations at the University of Maine at Orono on Sept. 22 as part of a campus-wide initiative to sign up people ahead of the November election, reports News Center Maine. The League of Women Voters also created the Youth Votes project to help students in Maine register, according to the Penobscot Bay Pilot.

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