Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections

• V.A.P. = Voting Age Population
1) from 1972 includes citizens 18 years of age; 2) V.A.P. includes those ineligible to vote such as felons. Because of this, V.A.P. figures are naturally lower than if the Voting Eligible Population (V.E.P.) is used as the denominator.
• REG = Registered to Vote

Year
Total V.A.P. Total REG* % REG of V.A.P * Turnout
% TO of V.A.P.
1828
       
57.6%
1832
       
55.4%
1836
       
57.8%
1840
       
80.2%
1844
       
78.9%
1848
       
72.7%
1852
       
69.6%
1856
       
78.9%
1860
       
81.2%
1864
       
73.8%
1868
       
78.1%
1872
       
71.3%
1876
       
81.8%
1880
       
79.4%
1884
       
77.5%
1888
       
79.3%
1892
       
74.7%
1896
       
79.3%
1900
       
73.2%
1904
       
65.2%
1908
       
65.4%
1912
       
58.8%
1916
       
61.6%
1920
       
49.2%
1924
       
48.9%
1928
       
56.9%
1932
       
56.9%
1936
       
61.0%
1940
       
62.5%
1944
       
55.9%
1948
       
53.0%
1952
       
63.3%
1956
       
60.6%
Year
Total V.A.P. Total REG* % REG of V.A.P * Turnout
% TO of V.A.P.
1960
109,672,000 63,854,789 * 58.22% 68,838,204
62.77%
1964
114,090,000 73,715,818 * 64.61% 70,644,592
61.92%
1968
120,328,186 81,658,180 * 67.86% 73,211,875
60.84%
1972
140,776,000 97,283,541 * 69.11% 77,718,554
55.21%
1976
152,309,190 105,024,916 * 68.96% 81,555,789
53.55%
1980
164,597,000 113,036,958 * 68.67% 86,515,221
52.56%
1984
173,936,000 124,184,647 * 71.18% 92,652,842
53.27%
1988
182,628,000 126,381,202 * 69.20% 91,594,809
50.15%
1992
189,044,000 133,821,178 * 70.79% 104,426,659
55.24%
1996
196,498,000 146,211,960 * 74.40% 96,277,634
49.00%
2000
205,815,000 156,421,311 * 76.00% 105,405,100
51.21%
2004 215,694,000 174,800,000 * 79.00% 122,295,345 56.70%
2008 225,499,000 TBD TBD 131,313,820 58.23%
2012 235,248,000 TBD TBD 129,085,403 54.87%

Notes

 Total REG data is incomplete or unavailable in some states, making it appear in some years as though more people voted than were registered to vote. From 1976 through 2004, this is due to the fact that North Dakota does not have voter registration, and in Wisconsin eligible voters may register to vote at the polls.

Source(s)

(1824-1956) - Lyn Ragsdale, Vital Statistics on the Presidency (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1998), 132-38.
(1960-2012) - Compiled by Gerhard Peters from data obtained from the Federal Election Commission.