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Election 2008: Restoring American Civic Participation

by Michael P. McDonald
At 61.6 percent, the 2008 presidential election voter turnout was the highest in 40 years, even though it did not exceed the highest rate in the last century (63.8 percent in 1960). Interestingly, turnout increased considerably in some states and was actually down from 2004 in others. This article looks at certain state voter demographics and battleground shifts as well as election reform developments that might have affected voter turnout in different states.

Emerging Issues in Election Reform

The League’s March 2005 forum highlighted a number of urgent priorities for policymakers, election officials and others. The League has refined the priorities into four key steps to bring our election system back to health: professionalization of the system; a new focus on service for the “customer,” the voter; 21st century research and development; and new federal resources and commitment.