NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
November 2, 2000
Going into the 2000 presidential election, the number of North Dakota persons of voting age was estimated at 473,265 in 1999. According to the recent Population Bulletin released from the North Dakota State Data Center at North Dakota State University, this is an increase of 7,063 or 1.5 percent from the 1990 Census.
The majority, 50.9 percent, of North Dakota residents old enough to vote were women in 1999. The elderly comprised 19.5 percent of voters while persons 18 to 24 represented 14.4 percent. Note that the voting age population (U.S. residents 18 years and older) includes persons who are ineligible to vote, such as non-citizens, convicted felons, and prison inmates, but excludes Americans living overseas who can vote.
According to the November 1996 supplement to the Current Population Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau, the voter turnout rate among North Dakota citizens was slightly higher for women (66.4 percent) than for men (65.8 percent) in the 1996 presidential election. Among citizens, older age groups were significantly more likely than younger age groups to vote. Approximately 8 of every 10 persons 65 to 74 voted in 1996 compared with less than half of persons 18 to 24.
"The age differential in voting will be an extremely important factor in the outcome of the election this November," said Richard Rathge, Director of the Center. Nearly three-fourths of our counties in North Dakota have elderly populations that exceed 20 percent. In nearly one-in-three counties, the proportion exceeds 30 percent. "Since roughly 80 percent of seniors typically vote, they represent a major voting block that will likely decide many of our races," said Rathge.
Along with gender and age, other indicators also related to the propensity to vote in the 1996 presidential election. North Dakota homeowners, married individuals, persons with more education, higher incomes, and employment were more likely to vote. Of those North Dakota citizens who did not vote in 1996, more than one in four reported that they did not vote because they could not get time off work or school or because they were too busy. Another 23 percent did not vote because they were not interested or did not care about the elections.
"This is a very sad commentary on the priorities we have today," Rathge said. "Candidates frequently have very different ideas regarding issues and visions for the future. The significant challenges we face in North Dakota indicates that more people need to take more active roles in deciding our stateís future," said Rathge. Fifteen percent reported they didnít vote because they did not prefer any of the candidates. Nearly 10 percent were out of town or away from home. Eight percent were sick, disabled, or had a family emergency. Other specified reasons for not voting included; had no way to get to polls (5.6 percent), forgot to vote (2.3 percent), and the lines were too long at polls (1.6 percent).
In the 1996 presidential election, North Dakota ranked fifth in percent voter turnout (66.1 percent of citizens). Nationally, 58.4 percent of U.S. citizens participated.
Source: Richard Rathge, (701) 231-8621
Editor: Tom Jirik, (701) 231-9629
Click here for a GIF version of this graphic. (29KB b&w text, map and graph)
Click here for a GIF version of this graphic. (52KB b&w text, map and graph)
Click here for a pdf version of both pages of this graphic. (41KB b&w text, map and table)