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How does voter turnout in the US compare to other countries?

Election 2022 Polls Quick Calls Explainer
Posted at 9:10 AM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 12:10:52-04

Is the U.S. really a beacon of democracy? Millions of Americans will vote in the 2022 midterm elections. However, millions of Americans who are eligible to vote also don't plan on filling out a ballot.

According to the Pew Research Center (PRC), less than 63% of people who were of voting age voted in the 2020 presidential election. That number could be lower this year as midterm elections typically see a lower turnout. In 2018, the PRC reports that just over 47% of people who were of voting age voted in the midterm elections.

Other countries are more successful in getting people to the polls. According to the PRC, 94% of the voting-age population turned out for elections in Uruguay in 2019. Turkey had an 89% turnout rate in 2018, according to the PRC.

European countries including Sweden, Finland and Frace all had higher rates of the vote-age population showing up to the polls during recent national elections, the PRC reports.

There is a major bright spot for voting in the U.S. According to the PRC, 94.% of registered voters actually voted in the 2020 presidential election. That's higher than any other country.

In most places in the U.S. individuals have to volunteer to sign up to vote, which likely means they are motivated to cast a ballot. However, the PRC notes, in an effort to encourage more people to vote, 19 states and the District of Columbia are now automatically signing up people to vote unless they opt-out.