2012 November General Election Turnout Rates

Last updated: 9/3/2014

2012 VEP Turnout Rates

The preferred turnout rates are those calculated with the voting-eligible population as the denominator. The voting-eligible population (VEP) represents an estimate of persons eligible to vote regardless of voter registration status in an election and is constructed by modifying the voting-age population (VAP), by components reported in the right-most columns (scroll right in the spreadsheet).

The preferred turnout rate numerator is the Total Ballots Counted, which is all ballots election officials counted. Not all jurisdictions report total ballots counted, so a second-best numerator is Highest Office, which in a presidential election year is the total votes for all presidential candidates including write-ins (where reported), and in a non-presidential election may be the vote for the highest turnout statewide office (typically governor) or if no statewide election was held, the sum of the congressional elections. Total ballots counted includes blank and otherwise invalid votes for the highest office. Some states may report a statistic they call total ballots cast, but is actually vote for highest office.

Questions? Please see the FAQ.

Direct link to spreadsheet.


The denominator reflects the July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 voting-age population estimates interpolated to Nov. 1 2012, non-citizen estimates from the 2012 American Community Survey, the year-end 2012 DOJ prison report and the year-end 2012 DOJ probation and parole report. The number of felons who are on probation is estimated to be 53% of the total, which based on a DOJ survey; the total probation population is reported in the spreadsheet, and this adjustment is applied to the number of ineligible felons on probation, parole or in prison. Starting in 2010, the citizen prison population is reported. A '0' indicates that either a state does not disfranchise a class of felons or the state does not incarcerate felons within their borders (this is true for DC). See The Sentencing Project for more information.

The overseas eligible population estimate is calculated from 2012 overseas civilian estimate from the State Department -- which reports 6.8 million overseas citizens in FY 2012 and is deflated by 75.4%, the percentage of the domestic citizen population that is of voting age according to the 2011 American Community Survey. This estimate includes military personnel.

The national total number of ballots counted is an estimate derived from the national vote for president multiplied by the ratio of total ballots counted to vote for president in states reporting both numbers. The total ballots counted estimate is updated as additional states report.

Kansas vote for highest office adjusted for a double-count of Wilson County votes for president. Total ballots counted is unaffected.

In an effort to be transparent to updates to these statistics, previous major versions of this spreadsheet are provided below. These updates are typically due to updated census population and citizenship estimates and DOJ and State Department reports.