RI voter turnout in last November’s election was 47%: Census

Last November’s midterm elections drew 46.7% of Rhode Island citizens over the age of 18 to the polls, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday.

That’s the lowest midterm election turnout in Rhode Island since comparable Census records begin in 1986, and way down from the 58.8% turnout in 2006, a year that included the hard-fought U.S. Senate race between Lincoln Chafee and Sheldon Whitehouse.

It’s also down from the 67.4% of Rhode Island citizens 18 and older who voted in the 2008 election, which is less surprising since presidential years usually see a big surge in voter turnout.

Voter turnout in November 2010 ranged from over 55% in Maine and Washington to under 40% in Texas, with Massachusetts’ turnout at 52.2%, the Census said.

“The most common reason people did not vote was they were too busy (27%),” the Census said in a news release. “Another 16% felt that their vote would not make a difference.”

Hispanics made up 7% of voters nationwide in 2010, up from 6% in 2006, while black voters’ share rose from 11% to 12%.

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