2020 Election SparksPolitical Participation

2020 Elections & Participation: Voter Turnout

Posted on in 2020 Election Sparks · Political Participation

While more people have voted than at any other time in American history, percentage-wise, this number does not quite break records. Given that around 239.2 million Americans were eligible to vote in 2020, the projected number of voters brings us to a 66.7% turnout rate. This makes 2020 the year with the highest voter turnout since 1900, when Republican William McKinley won reelection with 73.7% turnout. In 2016, by comparison, 230.9 million Americans were eligible to vote and 136.8 million voted for a voter turnout rate of 59.2%.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Voter Turnout"


“2020 turnout is the highest in over a century”

“2020’s record voter turnout in the US is still lower than many other countries”

“How US voter turnout increased in key states – a visual guide”

“Republicans Pushed to Restrict Voting. Millions of Americans Pushed Back”

“Voter turnout rate in the presidential election in the United States as of November 16, 2020, by state”

“US voter demographics: election 2020 ended up looking a lot like 2016”

“Surge in youth voter turnout may have helped propel Biden to victory”

“Why Don’t Young People Vote, and What Can Be Done About It?”

“Election Week 2020: Young People Increase Turnout, Lead Biden to Victory”


  • Debate: Voting is important because it is a chance to have your voice heard. If you don’t vote, you do not have the right to complain.
  • While voting may be important, there are much more effective forms of political  participation in the United States.
  • Poll: It is important to vote because every vote matters.             
  • Short Answer: What sociological factors have been shown to impact voter turnout?

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Featured Image Credit: Artem Podrez

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