United States Elections Project

Voter Turnout Academic Articles

The voter turnout rates presented on this website have undergone rigorous peer-review and have been published in the top political science journals, including the discipline's top journal, the American Political Science Review.

  • Michael P. McDonald and Samuel Popkin. 2001. "The Myth of the Vanishing Voter." American Political Science Review 95(4): 963-974. LINK.
  • Michael P. McDonald 2002.  "State Turnout Rates Among Those Eligible to Vote." State Politics and Policy Quarterly (2) 2.
  • Michael P. McDonald.  2003. "On the Over-Report Bias of the National Election Survey." Political Analysis 11(2): 180-186. Supporting data.
  • Michael P. McDonald. 2007. "The True Electorate: A Cross-Validation of Voter File and Election Poll Demographics." Public Opinion Quarterly 71(4): 588-602.
  • Michael P. McDonald. 2008. "Portable Voter Registration." Political Behavior 30(4): 491–501.
  • Michael P. McDonald.  2010. "American Voter Turnout in Historical Perspective."in Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior, Jan Leighley, ed.  Cambridge, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Michael P. McDonald. 2011. "Voter Turnout: Eligibility Has Its Benefits" in Controversies in Voting Behavior, 2nd Edition, Richard G. Niemi, Herbert F. Weisberg, and David Kimball, eds. Washington, DC: CQ Press.


Memo on Florida Voter Registration Address Errors - an analysis of address errors on Florida's voter registration file that disproportionately occur among registered African-Americans. This analysis was conducted during the 2008 primary when discussions were underway to hold an all-mail "do over" Florida Democratic primary election.

Analysis Finds Serious Flaws With New Jersey Voter Fraud Report - A report with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University that analyzes vote fraud claims in New Jersey. The statistical issues surrounding name matching rasied in this report were later published as "Seeing Double Voting: An Extension of the Birthday Problem." (with Justin Levitt). 2008.  Election Law Journal 7(2): 111-22. This research was cited by a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences on State Voter Registration Databases.

Report on the 2004 Election Day Survey to the Election Assistance Commission - The first comprehensive federal survey of election administration in the United States. The Survey was conducted by the United States Election Assistance Commission and the report was written by Kim Brace of Election Data Services and Dr. McDonald.

Critique of the Berkeley Voting Study - In 2004, a group of Berkeley sociology graduate students under the tutelage of a sociology professor (with no training in the study of elections) made claims of election fraud in Florida that allegedly handed George Bush the election. This is a compilation of critqiues by numerous political scientists who are experts in elections, some of whom publicly support Democrats.

Every Eligible Voter Counts: Correctly Measuring American Turnout Rates - A Brookings report on eligible voters for the 2004 election and a recap of the voter turnout research presented on this website.

Is Voter Registration Up Everywhere in America? - A Brookings report on aggregate registration statistics (1996-2004) plus selected demographics of registration from the 2002 Current Population Survey. The report demonstrates how the number of people who say they are registered is much smaller than actual registration statistics, most likely due to the presence of deadwood on the voter registration files.

California 2003 Recall Pre-Election Turnout Prediction - An analysis of early voting pre-election rates that demonstrates the accuracy of early voting to forecast election day turnout. This technique is now used regularly to forecast election day turnout.

Opinion Editorials

Media Appearances

These turnout rate numbers are distributed to the national television networks and the Associated Press through the national exit poll consortium, which Dr. McDonald has consulted for since 2004. Dr. McDonald has conducted approximately 1,000 print, radio, and television interviews on elections, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. Selected media interviews include: