It's a little tricky to show registration, turnout, and turnout of registered by age for three different elections all at once. I hope that the chart makes clear the great gains in 2004 for young voters, driven by huge increases in registration combined with strong GOTV efforts.
Selected items to note:
- Turnout is essentially the same between 1996 and 2000, with a noticeable uptick in 2004 concentrated in young voters.
- Voter registration is roughly the same for all three elections other than an increase in 2004 among those 35 years old or younger.
- In 2004 turnout of 18 year olds (44%) was higher than registration among 18 year olds in 2000. In other words, even if 100% of registered 18 year olds had voted in 2000, overall turnout of 18 year olds could not have been as high as 44% without first increasing registration rates.
- Among those who are registered, turnout has risen across the board from 1996 to 2000 to 2004, but again this increase is concentrated among young voters.
- Among the registered population, those age 85 or older were the least likely to vote in 2004.
Feb 2009: uploaded a slightly improved chart.