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How do we measure voter turnout in an election? There are several ways of doing so. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
  1. Percentage of Voters Who Were Registered as of 7 A.M. on Election Day.
    • This is the formula used on this website, and reflects the number of voters who "pre-registered" in time to have their names printed on the "rosters", the list of voters available in each polling place.

    • The advantage to this formula is that it uses precise numbers of actual voters (not an estimate), which can be determined and entered into the system well before election day. The disadvantage to this formula is that it does not reflect the number of voters who registered and voted on Election Day itself. Currently, the statewide voter registration system does not have the capacity to receive this information before Election Night reporting of results begins.

    • For purposes of determining Voter Turnout, the total number of individual ballots cast for all presidential candidates is used as the most reliable measurement available of the number of individuals who voted in this election on election night.

  2. Percentage of Voters Who Were Registered on Election Day
    • This is the formula that will be used after Election Night on this website when Election Day registration information is available.

    • The advantage to this formula is that it also uses precise numbers of actual voters (not an estimate). The disadvantage to this formula is that the precise number cannot be determined until after Election Night reporting has been completed, for the reasons discussed above.

  3. Percentage of Voting Age Population
    • This formula is used to determine what percentage of voters cast ballots from the entire larger population group that could have registered and cast ballots.

    • The advantage to this formula is that it can measure lack of involvement in the election process. It calculates the number of individuals 18 years of age or older who could have registered to vote, but did not. The disadvantage to this formula is that it cannot be as precise a measure as percentage of actual voters. For example, felons and individuals under "guardianship of the person" are included in this number, even though they cannot in fact register or vote. Although there is no "official" determination of voting age population, the Census Bureau does produce these population estimates. The Census Bureau estimates that Minnesota's 2000 voting age population is 3,547,000.

      For more information, refer to the Census Bureau's web page on this topic: (Census Bureau)