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41st

Where mid-term election turnout in Texas ranked among the 50 states.

A record number of Texans cast ballots in last month’s gubernatorial, or mid-term, election. Nearly 8.4M Texans voted for one of the three U.S. Senate candidates, representing 53% of registered voters. That’s nearly 20 percentage points more than in 2014, when 4.7M Texans cast a ballot in the gubernatorial race.

Measuring turnout in this manner leaves out people who are eligible to vote but have not registered. Approximately 2.27M Texans were eligible but not registered to vote heading into the general election, which was the smallest such number since 2010. To get a more accurate picture of turnout, these 2.27M unregistered Texans need to be added to the 15.79M registered voters.

Calculated based on the estimated voting-eligible population, turnout in Texas was 46.3%, an increase of 18 percentage points over 2014, when Texas had the worst turnout in the country. Texas has ranked no better than 41st since 2000:

  • 2000 – 41st (49.2%)
  • 2002 – 46th (34.5%)
  • 2004 – 48th (53.7%)
  • 2006 – 48th (30.9%)
  • 2008 – 47th (54.1%)
  • 2010 – 50th (32.1%)
  • 2012 – 47th (49.6%)
  • 2014 – 50th (28.3%)
  • 2016 – 48th (51.4%)
  • 2018 – 41st (46.3%)

Despite having on the nation’s largest increases in turnout relative to 2014, Texas did not climb very high up the rankings because the average increase in turnout was 14.5 percentage points.

Texas finished ahead of Arkansas (41.0%), Hawai’I (38.5%), Louisiana (43.0%), Mississippi (42.5%), New York (42.1%), Oklahoma (42.4%), South Carolina (44.7%), Tennessee (44.7%) and West Virginia (41.7%). Results are certified in all of these states except New York, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The U.S. Elections Project, which is run by Univ. of Florida professor Michael McDonald, calculates the voting-eligible population for each state by removing estimates of the non-citizen and felon populations from the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimate of the voting-age population.

Shortly after the election, we thought Texas could finish as high as 35th based on preliminary results. Six states jumped ahead of Texas as they continued counting votes, which requires weeks for many states. Texas has one of the most expeditious vote counts in the country.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC