WA ranked fourth most politically active state ahead of midterms

Oct 12, 2022, 6:03 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2022, 3:08 pm
politically active...
Unopened ballots await processing at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Washington State ranked fourth among most politically-engaged states, WalletHub said in a news release. Only Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia were ahead, with Oregon taking the fifth spot.

Nebraska, South Dakota, Alabama, West Virginia, and Arkansas clocked in as the least politically-engaged states.

As midterm elections are less than a month away, many Washington voters are starting to receive their voter guides.

While the state ranked just outside the top 10 for the percentage of engaged voters over the age of 65, Washington fell to 23rd on the list of states with the most politically-engaged younger people — those 18 to 24 years old.

The numbers are much worse for midterms. In 2018, for instance, the U.S. saw the highest turnout in decades, which was only 53.4% of all eligible voters, according to Census data. Among developed nations, the U.S. ranks 30 out of 35 when it comes to voter turnout, according to Pew Research.

State, county election leaders already battling against misinformation campaigns ahead of midterms

Researchers considered 10 factors when creating the rankings, including percentages of registered and actual voters in the 2018 midterms and 2020 general elections, and the change in voter turnout in 2020 compared to 2016. They also looked at the total political contributions per adult, civic education engagement, campaign volunteer opportunities, voter access policies, and whether states had pre-registration policies for 16 and 17 year olds.

“[There are] several reasons why some states are more politically active than others. We know from quantitative work that education and income correlate highly with voter turnout,” Alison Johnston, a professor at Oregon State University, said. “So, states, where a greater proportion of people have college degrees and higher incomes (i.e., Massachusetts, Minnesota, etc.), will tend to have higher voter turnout rates. The ease of voting also helps. States where voting by mail is possible and where someone can register to vote close to election time will have fewer barriers in the way for people to vote, which should cause turnout rates to rise.”

On Oct. 21, Washington state will mail out voter ballots to registered voters, with the USPS suggesting you turn your ballot in by Nov. 1 so it can be arrive on time for the election Nov. 8.

For a Washington state voter’s guide for election tools, deadlines, dates, rules, and links, use this website. If you’re not registered to vote yet, you can register before Oct. 31 online, or in person up until election day.

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WA ranked fourth most politically active state ahead of midterms