Not surprisingly, here at the N.C. Center for Voter Education our biggest focus is also our namesake – the voter. Making sure the public is informed and participatory, and that ballot access is fair and equal, is our mission. And with each election we wait with bated breath for poll results to see just who and how many are exercising their right and responsibility in North Carolina.
By the numbers, November 2012 saw a fairly solid turnout at the polls. Out of nearly 6.6 million registered voters, 4.5 million cast ballots, adding up to a voter turnout rate of over 68 percent. This makes North Carolina one of the few states to maintain election momentum from the 2008 presidential election.
By demographic category, Republicans and African-American women showed the most enthusiasm, with voter turnout rates nearly five percentage points higher than the overall state average, according to a recent report from Democracy North Carolina. Democrats were not far behind in getting to the polls, turning out at 70 percent. Another spirited group was the Tar Heel State’s women, who had more voter turnout than men in every single county.
In short, North Carolina is becoming a better state when it comes to getting to the polls. While in 2008 this could be credited to the excitement surrounding Barack Obama’s first run for the White House, sustained electoral energy seemed to stick around this past November. And with smart legislation designed to encourage participation at the polls, we can hope to see continually increasing numbers in the years to come.