Voter turnout soared in the 2020 General Election, up seven points from 2016 turnout as nearly two-thirds of eligible voters cast a ballot. It wasn’t concentrated in just the swing states, either. Turn out increased in every U.S. state.
The Pew Research Center compiled state-by-state vote results and found turnout was at least 75% in five states (ME, WI, MN, CO, WA); 70-75% in thirteen (MA, NH, CT, NJ, VT, PA, MD, NC, MI, VA, FL, IA, MT); 65-70% in another fourteen (DE, OH, GA, IL, MO, SD, NE, KS, ID, UT, NV, CA, AK, AZ); 60-65% in twelve (RI, DC, NY, SC, IN, KY, AL, LA, ND, WY, NM, TX) and under 60% in just six (WV, TN, AR, MS, OK, HI). The five states with the biggest percentage increases in turnout were Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, Wisconsin, and Washington. Seven of the ten states with the biggest jumps voted entirely or mostly by mail, with Montana mostly voting by mail for the first time.
The mail-in vote cannot be ignored moving forward. While some states had no excuse absentee voting for the first time due to COVID-19 (PA, MT, CA, VT, MO, for example), it will be hard to reverse course and not continue the practice in future elections. Democrats generally have done better at chasing absentee ballots and getting out their mail votes. Republicans must step up to the challenge and do better at mail-in voting instead of discouraging GOP supporters to vote by mail in the elections to come.