NATION POLITICS ESSENTIAL WASHINGTON

The U.S. elected its 45th president on Nov. 8.

Record number (but not percentage) of voters projected

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

At least 47 million people cast early ballots in this year's election, and close to 90 million more are expected to vote Tuesday, likely leading to a record number of voters.

University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald, one of the country's leading experts on voter turnout, estimates that roughly 135 million people will cast ballots this year.

In 2012, just over 129 million voted in the contest between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Four years earlier, Obama's quest to become the nation's first African American president had drawn slightly more than 131 million people to vote, or about 62% of the total population eligible to vote, according to McDonald's data.

The 2008 election marked the recent high point in turnout. Because the U.S. population has grown a lot since 2008, 135 million voters would mean a lower percentage turnout than in that election.

The record turnout in modern U.S. elections came in the closely contested 1960 race between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. That election took place before the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1971, lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. 

 

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