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Voter Turnout

Voter turnout has hit record lows across the U.S. Less than 60% of eligible voters participate during presidential election years, and only about 35% vote during midterm elections. U.S. turnout in the 2012 presidential election was 53.6%, based on 129.1 million votes cast and an estimated voting-age population of just under 241 million people. Looking at the most recent national elections in OECD countries, the highest turnout rates were in Belgium (87.2%), Turkey (84.3%) and Sweden (82.6%). (For more information, see Pew Research Voter Turnout Fact Tank.) Turnout, not surprisingly, drops even lower for local elections - in some cases to the single digits. (For more information, see FairVote.org.)

At issue are fair representation - with voting disparities according to age, race, education, socioeconomic status - and the increasing impact on elections of special interest groups that have become especially successful at motivating their constituencies. With a presidential election on the horizon and to increase voter participation on issues of local importance, many chambers are lending their support or even leading efforts to increase voter turnout in their area.

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Last updated: 3/23/2017

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