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43.1 Voting Age Participation by Election Type

This indicator compares the percentage of populations age 18 and older voting in national and state elections.

This indicator is part of Civic participation.

Indicator description:

This indicator compares the percentages of populations age 18 and older voting in national and state elections in Bernalillo County to national, state, and neighboring state rates. This is a standard methodology used by researchers studying electoral trends and is known as Voting Age Participation (VAP). Voter turnout, another way of measuring participation, is often used by election administrators and reported by the media. In the 1990’s major changes in federal law affected how local election administrators maintain voter registration lists, making it difficult to compare historical voting trends. Therefore, voting age population is used as the denominator, because it is more reliable and accurate in how it is determined. The indicator also presents VAP trends in City of Albuquerque municipal elections for Mayor and City Council, and City Council and General Obligation Bond approvals (staggered 4 year cycle).

Rollover and click the interactive graphs to make comparisons

Why is this indicator relevant?

Voting is the most fundamental indicator of public participation in civic affairs. By voting, citizens make their voices heard on major policy issues, choose elected officials, and hold those officials accountable. Voter participation rates can be directly correlated with the extent to which people are connected with their communities.

Data Sources:
US Census Bureau, American Community Survey; United States Election Project, Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office; City of Albuquerque Clerk’s Office.

What can we tell from the data?

  • Compared to fellow New Mexicans, voters in neighboring states, and to the nation as a whole, local voters participate at very high rates.
  • Presidential elections have higher participation rates than other elections.
  • City of Albuquerque elections show much lower participation rates than national and state elections and participation in them has declined over time, reaching a low of 7.8% in 2007.


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