Community & Civic Engagement
Voter Participation

Voter Participation

What does this measure?

The percentage of the voting-age population (18 and over) that voted in an election.

Why is this important?

Voting is a basic right of all citizens and indicates the citizenry's interest, commitment and belief in the value of participating in our political process.

How is our county performing?

In 2016, 57% of voting-age people in Erie County cast votes in the presidential election. This was lower than the statewide rate of 60%, but slightly higher than the national rate of 55%.

Between 2000 and 2012, voting-age people in Erie County cast ballots at higher rates than the nation in every presidential election except 2012, when the county and U.S. were similar (both at 54%). Erie County's participation rate in 2012 was slightly lower than the state's, at 57%, but the county was similar to Pennsylvania in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

Voter participation in Erie County and Pennsylvania fluctuated similarly from 2000 to 2016. Participation was lowest during the 2014 midterm elections (33% in Erie, 35% in Pennsylvania) and highest in the 2004 Erie County's voting-age population peaked at 218,800 voting-age adults in 2012 and then declined to 216,200 voting-age adults in 2016. Overall, the County's voting-age population has increased by 2% in the last 10 years. The state, in contrast, experienced steady increases in its voting-age population throughout this time (a 5% increase overall). The nation increased its voting-age population by 11% in this time period.

How do we compare to similar counties?

During the 2016 election, Erie County's voter participation was slightly higher than Broome County, NY (55%), higher than Luzerne County, PA (53%) and similar to Stark County, OH (58%). Voter participation in Stark was higher than Erie in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Participation in Luzerne County lagged behind Erie in every election for which data was available from 2000 to 2016.

From 2006 to 2016, Stark County, OH saw a similar increase in its voting age population to Erie County (2%). Luzerne County saw a smaller increase (1%), Broome County experienced a small 1% decline.

Notes about the data

Rates were calculated using Census estimates of the population 18 and over. National data only available for presidential years.

Voter Participation
United States50%56%57%54%55%
Erie County, PA53%37%60%40%60%54%33%57%
Broome County, NY57%43%59%41%56%39%51%34%56%
Stark County, OH54%39%66%47%64%42%61%34%58%
Luzerne County, PA47%35%54%38%53%48%29%53%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, New York State Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of State, Federal Elections Commission

Number of Voters
United States105,405,100122,295,345131,257,328129,067,662136,669,237
Erie County, PA112,33578,563125,89886,101127,691118,61972,504123,679
Broome County, NY88,01166,60492,60464,98889,75762,51581,37653,35087,177
Stark County, OH153,461109,772187,552134,829183,733122,271178,01398,653170,868
Luzerne County, PA119,58686,746136,02895,679135,175124,43974,214134,983

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, New York State Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of State, Federal Elections Commission

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employees Increasing
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Median Age Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Decreasing
Foreign Born Population Increasing
Household Types Not Applicable
Average Household Size Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Public Assistance Maintaining
Change in Average Salary Decreasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Employment by Sector Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Education Level Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Homeownership Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Median Rent Maintaining
Student Performance in Grade 3 Reading Increasing
Student Performance in Grade 3 Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Maintaining
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Education Level of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Air Quality Increasing
Water Quality Maintaining
Recycling Tons Per Capita Maintaining
Solid Waste Per Capita Maintaining
Vehicles by Fuel Type Not Applicable
Mortality Rate Decreasing
Death from Heart Disease Decreasing
Death from Cancer Decreasing
Death from Stroke Decreasing
Death from Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease Increasing
Hypertension Prevalance Increasing
Diabetes Prevalence Increasing
Asthma Increasing
People Without Healthcare Coverage Decreasing
People Without a Primary Care Physician Increasing
Routine Checkups Increasing
People Who Cannot Afford Healthcare Decreasing
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Children Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Teens Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Adult Smokers Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Decreasing
Binge Drinking Maintaining
Infant Mortality Decreasing
Low Birth Weight Babies Not Applicable
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Non Smoking During Pregnancy Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing