States that had the highest 2020 voter turnout

Written by:
January 6, 2021
Christine Glade // Shutterstock

States that had the highest 2020 voter turnout

The election of 2020 will be one that many Americans won’t soon forget. Millions of voters tuned into cable and broadcast news networks on Nov. 3, ready to dissect maps, blue states and red states, and the possibilities of swings when major precincts reported results. However, with unprecedented voter turnout and millions of more mail-in ballots to record than usual, election results took days to tally, and America went to sleep on election night unsure of the winner of the presidential race.

The 2020 election was unlike any other in American history. There were the polarized policies of progressives and conservatives, but the coronavirus pandemic was the primary cause for changing the dynamics of this voting season. With many states enforcing strict stay-at-home policies and scores of Americans not wanting to risk the spread or infection of COVID-19, many more people than usual voted by mail, drop boxes, or at polling stations before the actual Election Day.

As a result, many states saw record-high turnouts. Using data from the U.S. Elections Project—ballot totals last updated Dec. 7, 2020, Stacker compiled data on voter turnout in every state, including early voting and mail-in ballot voting. Each state and Washington D.C. was ranked on the total ballots counted out of the voter-eligible population. The early voting and mail-in ballot data was taken from state election websites as of Nov. 23, but may not reflect final vote counts if the state did not report that information. Additionally, some states do not differentiate between early in-person ballots and mail-in ballots.

Despite the large turnout, many states still have improvements to be made. Decisions on whether or not early balloting will be accepted on such a wide scale going forward is a key concern in several battleground states, while some states in the South drew criticism for what progressives view as arcane rules around registering. All that data and more is included, so click through to find out where your state ranked nationwide in 2020 voter turnout.

You may also like: U.S. cities with the cleanest air

1 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#51. Oklahoma

- Total ballots counted: 1,565,000 (55% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,845,835
- Total ballots cast early: 448,070
--- Early in-person ballots: 167,185
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 280,885
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

In recent elections, Oklahoma has been last in the nation in voter turnout. Voting experts have criticized the state for not ensuring as many people vote as possible, and Oklahoma’s status as essentially being a one-party state—heavily Republican—likely doesn’t help matters. An online registration system was approved by the state legislature, but has not been implemented.

2 / 51
shuttersv // Shutterstock

#50. Arkansas

- Total ballots counted: 1,223,675 (56.1% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,182,375
- Total ballots cast early: 912,688
--- Early in-person ballots: 794,394
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 118,294
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Cleveland County had the highest percentage of voter turnout at 77.77%, while only 43.1% of voters came out in Scott County, the lowest percentage in the state. Experts said one reason for the low voter turnout was that major races in the state were not competitive.

3 / 51
Phillip B Espinasse // Shutterstock

#49. Hawaii

- Total ballots counted: 579,784 (57.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,007,920
- Total ballots cast early: 551,036
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 551,036
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

While more of Hawaii’s citizens turned out for the general election than ever before, the numbers compared to national percentages are not breathtaking. The state did undertake a campaign to encourage residents to vote early, and a majority of voters sent in ballots by mail. Some voters had to wait in line for six hours to vote on Election Day.

4 / 51
Anthony Heflin // Shutterstock

#48. West Virginia

- Total ballots counted: 802,726 (57.6% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,394,028
- Total ballots cast early: 145,127
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 145,127
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Absentee ballots were high in West Virginia, and only in the 1960 presidential election did more residents vote. Almost half of all votes were recorded before Election Day, but several county clerks rejected the idea of expanding absentee ballot voting.

5 / 51
OFFSTOCK // Shutterstock

#47. Tennessee

- Total ballots counted: 3,065,000 (59.8% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,124,867
- Total ballots cast early: 2,280,767
--- Early in-person ballots: 2,070,339
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 210,428
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Tennessee has challenges to overcome in achieving a higher voter turnout. It is one of the few states that request racial identification on a voter registration application. Some in Tennessee also believe voting rights restoration for felons needs fixing.

 

6 / 51
Agent-007 // Shutterstock

#46. Mississippi

- Total ballots counted: 1,325,000 (60.2% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,201,950
- Total ballots cast early: 231,031
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 231,031
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Wait times of over three hours hampered some polling locations in Mississippi. Still, that didn’t prevent Black residents in certain parts of Mississippi to vote in record numbers.

7 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#45. Texas

- Total ballots counted: 11,350,000 (60.4% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 18,784,280
- Total ballots cast early: 9,705,090
--- Early in-person ballots: 8,767,535
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 937,555
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Texas Democrats hoped a higher voter turnout would swing their state blue, but that was not the case. The state had to deal with lawsuits to throw out 127,000 early ballots, and studies have shown Texas to have one of the country’s most restrictive voting environments. Some lawmakers are trying to pass new voter accessibility bills to increase future turnouts.

8 / 51
gmeland // Shutterstock

#44. New Mexico

- Total ballots counted: 928,230 (61.3% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,515,355
- Total ballots cast early: 788,175
--- Early in-person ballots: 467,709
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 320,466
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

New Mexico experienced a growing divide between urban and rural voters, causing bigger turnouts than normal. Democrats are increasingly gaining strength in the state’s urban centers. New Mexico is one of the states where President Trump filed an election lawsuit, claiming there was illegal use of ballot drop boxes.

9 / 51
Svineyard // Shutterstock

#43. Indiana

- Total ballots counted: 3,068,542 (61.4% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,000,007
- Total ballots cast early: 1,834,992
--- Early in-person ballots: 1,328,039
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 506,953
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

For the first time in Indiana history, more than 3 million voters cast ballots in an election. About 60% of those ballots were absentee, and while the state’s overall number is low nationwide, for the first time this century every Indiana county reported a turnout of over 50%.

10 / 51
JNix // Shutterstock

#42. Alabama

- Total ballots counted: 2,325,000 (63.1% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,683,055
- Total ballots cast early: 300,402
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 300,402
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Republicans drove Alabama’s record-high voter turnout. As opposed to many states, Alabama still relied heavily on in-person voting, although absentee ballots were used at a record pace. Alabama is one of two states that requires residents to mark their race on voter registration forms.

 

11 / 51
Victor Moussa // Shutterstock

#41. New York

- Total ballots counted: 8,661,735 (63.4% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 13,670,596
- Total ballots cast early: 3,743,745
--- Early in-person ballots: 2,507,341
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,236,404
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

New York, a state that had some of the most stringent COVID-19 protections in place, voted in record numbers through early voting methods. The state unleashed a heavy ad blitz to encourage voters to vote early and absentee. In a move that might further increase New York’s turnout numbers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo just signed a law to automatically enable voter registration.

12 / 51
Canva

#40. Washington DC

- Total ballots counted: 346,491 (64.1% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 540,685
- Total ballots cast early: 305,410
--- Early in-person ballots: 68,914
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 236,496
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Voters in Washington D.C. took advantage of early voting, with some polling places reporting no lines for waiting. On the first day of early in-person voting, approximately 20,000 residents voted. Eligible first-time voters could register in-person up through Election Day.

13 / 51
Pierre Leclerc // Shutterstock

#39. North Dakota

- Total ballots counted: 364,251 (64.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 565,143
- Total ballots cast early: 273,103
--- Early in-person ballots: 87,902
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 185,201
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

After the election, some outlets reported that Native American voter turnout in North Dakota was not as high as in other states. Amid complaints about access, some legislators are trying to increase voting access for future elections.

14 / 51
jdross75 // Shutterstock

#38. South Carolina

- Total ballots counted: 2,533,010 (64.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,926,305
- Total ballots cast early: 1,334,000
--- Early in-person ballots: 893,000
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 441,000
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

South Carolina has some of the most stringent voting rules in the nation—with Alabama, it’s one of only two states to make voters list their race when registering. South Carolina did allow curbside voting and for voters to list COVID-19 as a universal excuse for an absentee ballot.

15 / 51
Pierre Leclerc // Shutterstock

#37. Wyoming

- Total ballots counted: 278,503 (64.6% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 431,364
- Total ballots cast early: 131,516
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 131,516
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Wyoming made some notable improvements, like mailing absentee ballots to every voter. Native Americans were allowed to use a tribal ID to vote, but Wyoming remained the only state that necessitated a notarized form to register, which can’t be done online.

 

16 / 51
JB Manning // Shutterstock

#36. Louisiana

- Total ballots counted: 2,180,000 (64.6% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,373,932
- Total ballots cast early: 977,408
--- Early in-person ballots: 817,965
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 159,443
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Louisiana begrudgingly began to recognize the efficacy of mail-in ballots, as the state recorded a record turnout. However, in a less encouraging sign in turnout numbers, Louisiana’s runoff elections struggled to attract voters.

17 / 51
Stephen Bailey // Shutterstock

#35. Kentucky

- Total ballots counted: 2,150,954 (64.9% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,312,250
- Total ballots cast early: 1,508,000
--- Early in-person ballots: 933,000
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 575,000
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Areas like Fayette County stressed the importance of early voting, which lessened long lines at many polling places. Anderson County had the highest percentage of turnout at 70.55%, while Christian County recorded a Kentucky low at 42.74%. The state was criticized for inconsistent methods for counting and recording mail-in ballots.

18 / 51
randyandy // Shutterstock

#34. Nevada

- Total ballots counted: 1,407,754 (65.4% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,153,915
- Total ballots cast early: 1,268,851
--- Early in-person ballots: 578,303
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 690,548
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Nevada is another state where President Trump’s attempts to block voting results were denied. Voting advocates have long tried to get the state to create an independent redistricting commission to redraw legislative boundaries. Elko and Douglas counties had the highest turnouts at 82.1%.

19 / 51
Anthony Ricci // Shutterstock

#33. Rhode Island

- Total ballots counted: 525,000 (65.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 799,642
- Total ballots cast early: 305,724
--- Early in-person ballots: 149,546
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 156,178
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Rhode Island had its most voters since 2008, with almost 60% of voters casting ballots before Election Day. Jamestown had one of the highest turnouts in the state, with around 75% of eligible voters casting ballots.

20 / 51
mojoeks // Shutterstock

#32. Kansas

- Total ballots counted: 1,375,125 (65.9% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,087,946
- Total ballots cast early: 770,324
--- Early in-person ballots: 348,220
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 422,104
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Kansas setup 24-hour drop boxes for voters to cast their ballots. Other early voting methods led to a solid turnout, but numbers can still go up; the American Civil Liberties Union is specifically targeting Kansas to increase turnouts in future elections.

 

21 / 51
Gregory E Clifford // Shutterstock

#31. Arizona

- Total ballots counted: 3,420,565 (65.9% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,189,000
- Total ballots cast early: 2,664,687
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 2,664,687
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

In the Phoenix area, “get out the vote” efforts encouraged eligible voters to cast ballots early. Protestors and activists also played a role in higher turnouts, as did strong numbers of Native American voters.

22 / 51
Paul Brady Phjotography // Shutterstock

#30. South Dakota

- Total ballots counted: 427,529 (66% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 648,104
- Total ballots cast early: 308,808
--- Early in-person ballots: 92,668
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 216,140
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

In 2020, about two times the amount of voters cast absentee ballots in South Dakota compared to 2016. In some of the state’s major cities, the nonprofit IllumiNatives erected billboards encouraging Native Americans to vote.

23 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#29. Missouri

- Total ballots counted: 3,050,000 (66.3% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,603,060
- Total ballots cast early: 827,978
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 827,978
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

For the first time in Missouri history, election turnout surpassed the 3 million mark. There are policy proposals to add early voting in the state, but critical voices said that implementation would come at a cost. One fix would be adding “no-excuse” absentee voting.

24 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#28. Illinois

- Total ballots counted: 6,050,000 (67% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 9,027,082
- Total ballots cast early: 3,591,646
--- Early in-person ballots: 1,832,401
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,759,245
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Illinois is trending upward, as the total ballots cast surpassed the previous record set in 2016. About two-thirds of Illinois residents cast ballots early or by absentee ballot, with election agencies appealing to voters to find alternate methods to in-person Election Day voting.

25 / 51
Checubus // Shutterstock

#27. Ohio

- Total ballots counted: 5,974,121 (67.4% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 8,859,167
- Total ballots cast early: 3,000,827
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 3,000,827
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Before Election Day, politicians in Ohio and Michigan placed a bet on which state would have the higher voter turnout. Michigan won, and several Ohio politicians said their state’s turnout was a “disappointment.” Cuyahoga County reported long lines on Election Day.

 

26 / 51
f11photo // Shutterstock

#26. Idaho

- Total ballots counted: 875,000 (67.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,292,701
- Total ballots cast early: 402,310
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 402,310
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

In October, Idaho was already reporting an onslaught of absentee ballots. Ada County was one of the areas to set a new precedent for turnout. This past summer, Idaho also had a record-high turnout for primary elections.

27 / 51
f11photo // Shutterstock

#25. Georgia

- Total ballots counted: 5,000,511 (67.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 7,383,562
- Total ballots cast early: 4,011,822
--- Early in-person ballots: 2,694,879
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,316,943
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

The eyes of the country will be on Georgia in early January, as the state holds a runoff election for important U.S. Senate seats. The size of the turnout could be an early predictor if Democrats or Republicans will pick up two seats; in the general election, Georgia reported a record-breaking turnout. Georgia was the first state to offer automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting, and no-excuse absentee voting.

28 / 51
Sundry Photography // Shutterstock

#24. California

- Total ballots counted: 17,783,784 (68.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 25,962,648
- Total ballots cast early: 12,090,534
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 12,090,534
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

California just had its largest voter turnout since 1952. Sonoma County had the highest percentage of voters with 90.7%; Imperial County’s 67.7% was the lowest in the state. Low-income and diverse voters fueled the state’s big turnout.

29 / 51
Uwe Bergwitz // Shutterstock

#23. Alaska

- Total ballots counted: 361,400 (68.8% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 525,568
- Total ballots cast early: 205,597
--- Early in-person ballots: 80,915
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 124,682
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Alaska just had its highest voter turnout in history. Alaskans approved revamped ranked voting systems for primaries, which could boost future turnouts.

30 / 51
f11photo // Shutterstock

#22. Utah

- Total ballots counted: 1,515,845 (69.2% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,191,487
- Total ballots cast early: 1,124,206
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,124,206
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Utah had its best voter turnout ever, with Wayne County reporting the top numbers in the state. Politicians are hoping to introduce ranked-choice voting to the Beehive State.

You may also like: How Americans use the internet today, by the numbers

31 / 51
Jasonm Patrick Ross // Shutterstock

#21. Nebraska

- Total ballots counted: 966,920 (69.9% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,383,551
- Total ballots cast early: 482,919
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 482,919
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Thirty-four counties in Nebraska had turnouts over 80%, as the state set a record for voter turnout. Nebraska also set a voter registration record. There were some concerns in the state as election commissioners had to downplay claims of voter fraud, and there were reports that more than 25,000 early ballots weren’t returned.

32 / 51
Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#20. Delaware

- Total ballots counted: 509,241 (70.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 720,531
- Total ballots cast early: 148,424
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 148,424
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

After Delaware set voter turnout records, lawmakers in Joe Biden’s home state are trying to ramp up future voter turnout. Delaware is trying to institute same-day voter registration, align state primaries with national primaries, and eliminate absentee ballot limitations.

33 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#19. Maryland

- Total ballots counted: 3,050,000 (70.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,313,416
- Total ballots cast early: 2,514,489
--- Early in-person ballots: 987,029
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,527,460
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Maryland broke records for early voting, with mail-in ballots accounting for almost half the votes in the state. Maryland offered same-day registration for voters who missed the early voting period.

34 / 51
ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#18. Pennsylvania

- Total ballots counted: 6,950,000 (71% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 9,781,976
- Total ballots cast early: 2,629,672
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 2,629,672
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Pennsylvania is a rarity in not providing race-specific data of voter turnout. The pandemic and partisan attacks hampered mail-in voting in this battleground state, and Pennsylvania is considering an overhaul in the election of judges.

35 / 51
ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#17. North Carolina

- Total ballots counted: 5,545,847 (71.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 7,759,051
- Total ballots cast early: 4,597,717
--- Early in-person ballots: 3,620,531
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 977,186
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Alexander, Ashe, and Lincoln Counties all had turnouts over 80%, contributing to a 6% bump in voter turnout statewide. Still, despite a high turnout, Democrats were stumped on how Joe Biden did not win North Carolina.

 

36 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#16. Connecticut

- Total ballots counted: 1,861,086 (71.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,603,327
- Total ballots cast early: 636,000
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 636,000
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Connecticut turnout in 2020 topped all past elections, with the previous high coming in 2004. Some in Connecticut are calling for permanent measures for easier access to absentee and mail-in ballots.

37 / 51
Romain7189 // Shutterstock

#15. Florida

- Total ballots counted: 11,144,855 (71.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 15,551,739
- Total ballots cast early: 9,187,898
--- Early in-person ballots: 4,332,221
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 4,855,677
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

There was no controversy over hanging chads this year in Florida, but surprises occurred nonetheless. Large turnouts of Cuban voters near Miami, and Latino enclaves near Orlando kept the state red. The big turnout may have one repercussion, as now more signatures will be needed to put issues on future ballots.

38 / 51
Danica Chang // Shutterstock

#14. Massachusetts

- Total ballots counted: 3,658,005 (72.1% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,072,901
- Total ballots cast early: 2,352,945
--- Early in-person ballots: 968,491
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,384,454
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

After the success of mail-in voting in Massachusetts, the method will extend to spring elections. Many in the state attribute record voter turnouts to mail-in votes, and are pushing for the permanence of being able to sign, seal, and send in a ballot.

39 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#13. Virginia

- Total ballots counted: 4,523,142 (73% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 6,196,071
- Total ballots cast early: 2,828,483
--- Early in-person ballots: 1,861,444
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 967,039
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Early voting options were a huge hit in Virginia, with previous records being smashed three weeks before Election Day. In regard to overall voting, rural areas came out in droves—many voting for Donald Trump, even though Joe Biden still won the state.

40 / 51
Keegan Connell // Shutterstock

#12. Montana

- Total ballots counted: 612,075 (73.1% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 837,298
- Total ballots cast early: 604,042
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 604,042
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Montana surpassed voter turnout numbers before Election Day, with most counties prioritizing voting by mail. The state’s overall turnout was its highest since 1972.

 

41 / 51
JamesPatrick.pro // Shutterstock

#11. Iowa

- Total ballots counted: 1,700,130 (73.2% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 2,321,131
- Total ballots cast early: 996,981
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 996,981
- Winning presidential candidate: Donald Trump

Fourteen Iowa counties had turnouts of over 80%, contributing to an overall state record. Every county surpassed 65%—Harrison County’s 87.5% was top—and Iowa also posted record numbers for its June primaries.

42 / 51
John McCormick // Shutterstock

#10. Michigan

- Total ballots counted: 5,579,317 (73.9% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 7,550,147
- Total ballots cast early: 2,841,696
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 2,841,696
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Michigan voter turnout was so high that some trying to claim election fraud said numbers surpassed 100%. One person claimed Detroit had a voter turnout over 139%, while official results had the tally at just over 50%. In more factual stats, Michigan did post a higher voter turnout percentage than Ohio, winning an informal bet between politicians representing the Midwest rivals.

43 / 51
Erika J Mitchell // Shutterstock

#9. Vermont

- Total ballots counted: 370,968 (74.2% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 499,884
- Total ballots cast early: 280,455
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 280,455
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

About three weeks before Election Day, Vermont was already reporting record numbers of early ballots cast. Eventually, more than 80% of repeat voters from 2016 cast early ballots, and all active voters were mailed a ballot before Nov. 3. There were some unfounded accusations of voter fraud.

44 / 51
Vlad G // Shutterstock

#8. New Jersey

- Total ballots counted: 4,575,000 (74.3% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 6,158,999
- Total ballots cast early: 3,658,460
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 3,658,460
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

New Jersey took full advantage of mail-in ballots, with a majority of voters choosing to send in their votes. The high turnout showed Republicans making some inroads in a traditionally blue state, and many residents now approve of permanently increasing options for voting.

45 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#7. New Hampshire

- Total ballots counted: 814,499 (75.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,079,434
- Total ballots cast early: 260,217
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 260,217
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Almost one-third of New Hampshire residents sent in absentee ballots, leading to a record turnout. Manchester and Nashua, the state’s largest cities, each had over 14,000 absentee ballots, and more than 60 communities reported over 1,000 absentee ballots. Many of the voters that did come out on Election Day had to brave a snowstorm.

 

46 / 51
tusharkoley // Shutterstock

#6. Oregon

- Total ballots counted: 2,413,914 (75.5% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 3,196,425
- Total ballots cast early: 2,155,350
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 2,155,350
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Stacey Abrams recently said Oregon is the closest to having an ideal system for voting and more improvements could still be coming. Oregon is considering same-day registration and more ballot drop boxes for future elections, as well as ballots postmarked up to Election Day and automatic registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

47 / 51
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#5. Washington

- Total ballots counted: 4,116,894 (75.7% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 5,437,844
- Total ballots cast early: 3,545,289
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 3,545,289
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Washington allows same-day voter registration and many residents were able to become eligible to vote last minute. The state fell just short of its record of 84.6% turnout set in 2008, but encouraging signs were found in that 32 of 39 counties had a turnout above 80%.

48 / 51
Suzanne Tucker // Shutterstock

#4. Wisconsin

- Total ballots counted: 3,310,000 (75.8% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,368,530
- Total ballots cast early: 1,957,514
--- Early in-person ballots: 651,422
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,306,092
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

As a swing state embroiled in claims of voter fraud, there were some reports that Wisconsin’s turnout jumped 22%. While not true, the state had a record turnout thanks to initiatives like voter education and outreach. However, Wisconsin still has a ways to go in combating narratives that disenfranchise voters of color.

49 / 51
Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#3. Maine

- Total ballots counted: 828,305 (76.3% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 1,085,285
- Total ballots cast early: 514,429
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 514,429
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Although more than half of the votes submitted in Maine were by mail-in ballots, many residents still decided to go in-person on Election Day. The Maine Center for Disease Control reported no outbreaks related to in-person voting, and the state touted its sanitizing methods and use of personal protective equipment at polling places. The state now faces possible redistricting in a few districts, which could alter future turnout numbers.

50 / 51
Arina P Habich // Shutterstock

#2. Colorado

- Total ballots counted: 3,295,666 (76.4% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,313,054
- Total ballots cast early: 2,887,605
--- Early in-person ballots: 78,121
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 2,809,484
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Colorado received widespread praise for its mail-in ballot system, which has become the norm there since 2013. With a system already in place, Colorado experienced less problems with an influx of mail-in ballots. The state also has a texting system for voters experiencing voting problems and more than 370 drop boxes.

You may also like: Libertarian, gerrymandering, and 50 other political terms you should know

51 / 51
Checubus // Shutterstock

#1. Minnesota

- Total ballots counted: 3,292,997 (80% of the voter-eligible population)
- Voting-eligible population: 4,118,462
- Total ballots cast early: 1,846,668
--- Early in-person ballots: data not available
--- Mail-in ballots returned: 1,846,668
- Winning presidential candidate: Joe Biden

Absentee voting was the key cog behind landing Minnesota at the #1 spot. The state’s 80% turnout rate was the highest in 60 years and some counties reported voter turnout as high as 90%. Same-day registration also boosted Minnesota’s numbers.

You may also like: 50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon rainforest

Trending Now