The Boston Globe
Nov. 6, 2012
Turnout in Tuesday’s presidential election will probably fall below the levels of 2008 and 2004 based on voter registration trends, according to a longtime analyst of American voting behavior.
Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, estimated that 56 percent to 58 percent of eligible citizens will vote this year, down from 62.3 percent in 2008 and 60.6 percent in 2004.
Gans, in a study done in conjunction with the Bipartisan Policy Center, analyzed voter registration data this year and compared them with prior presidential cycles. The study found the percentage of citizens who are registered to vote “likely slipped moderately” from the prior two cycles.
Based on Gans’s projections, somewhere between 123 million and 127 million ballots will be cast when the polls close on Tuesday. That would be down from 131 million in 2008 but more than the 122 million in 2004, when there were 17 million fewer persons eligible to vote. Gans also said that so-called convenience laws that make it easier to vote — such as same-day registration and early in-person voting — have had a neutral overall effect on participation.
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