Who Voted in 2020? A Deep Dive Into Voter Turnout

After the 2020 general election, we took a sneak peek at early voting turnout, who voted early, and where they came from.

Now, election data is nearly complete (check out this blog for more on why it can take so long), and we are able to do a deeper dive into exactly who voted in the 2020 general election.

Overall voter turnout increased 8% in 2020 as compared to 2016 – the last presidential election. Some counties, such as Greenwood, grew as much as 32% while others ultimately had lower levels of turnout, such as Greeley which lost 3%. Some of these changes can be explained by population shifts and Kansans moving throughout the state over the last four years. Other reasons for drops in voter turnout could be a general lack of enthusiasm or political drain on some voters.

It is also important to note that in Chart 1 below there are severe downturns in turnout for a few counties. This is best explained by slow data reporting and an incomplete data file from the Kansas Secretary of State.

Chart 1

Let’s dig in a little deeper and see exactly who voted in the 2020 general election.

In Chart 2 we can see voter turnout generally follows the same line as the total number of registered voters for each age. However, as voters reach the age of 58 and above, they begin to vote at a much higher percentage. 81% or more of voters aged 58 to 84 turned out to vote in the 2020 general election, with the highest turnout among those aged 73 (who had an 87.1% turnout).

Chart 2 also shows us a large gap in turnout of voters aged 21-31. This generation of voters all had under a 60% turnout for the 2020 general election. From previous analysis of voter registration trends, we know this age group typically includes many first time voters and new registrants who may not always follow through with voting once registered.

Chart 2

But wait – we can break these numbers down even further. 

If we take Chart 2 of voters by age and look at the turnout percentage by gender, we begin to see some interesting trends appear. Chart 3 shows that women have a decided lead in turnout until around the age of 57, when men suddenly take the lead. Why do we think this is? In some cases it could be generational expectations of men leading the household. Or any number of things. As a campaign, state or local government, or community group look at the civic health of their area, a deeper look at why older women suddenly stay home and vote at a lower percentage could be helpful.

Chart 3