Near-Record Turnout the Story of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

The Trump vs. Biden 2020 U.S. Presidential election brought out the highest number of voters ever seen in the United States. Over 150 million people participated in the event by voting early, using mail-in ballots, or visiting their local polling place on Election Day.

That created a voter turnout percentage that reached nearly 70%. That figure is the highest rating in 120 years.

Although all of that participation is good news, it is still remarkable to think that these records got set while about one in every three eligible voters decided not to participate. Some of them may have stayed home because of COVID-19, but it might also be due to not wanting either major political candidate in office.

Almost 74% of Eligible Voters Cast Ballots in 1900

The 1900 U.S. Presidential election still carries the record for the highest percentage of eligible voters participating. The contest pitted the incumbent William McKinley against William Jennings Bryan.

It was the first election since Ulysses S. Grant where the incumbent President won the election.

What is notable about this election is that it had numerous third-party tickets running, with Bryan at the head of four different nominations.

About 14.5 million people voted in the 1900 election, with Teddy Roosevelt bringing in numerous votes for the Republicans.

As with the 2020 election, the primary driver of the vote was a polarized split regarding how to progress toward the future. With McKinley’s assassination in 1901, it would end up falling on Roosevelt to carry the banner.

What Drove People to the Polls in 2020?

The central issues of the 2020 election included how COVID-19 was handled by the government, civil unrest after the death of George Floyd, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing away, and the Republican about-face on nominating Supreme Court justices after blocking Merrick Garland four years before.

Having Kamala Harris on the Democratic ticket helped to bring back some moderate and independent voters that had gone to Trump in the 2016 election.

Will the next election provide a similar turnout? It is possible, especially if people become dissatisfied with the performance from Biden and Harris.