Get Out the Vote: Why are women leading the way in voter turnout?

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Get Out the Vote
1915 New York magazine illustration of women suffrage

WOMEN LEAD THE NATION WEST TO EAST: The 1920 election was the first U.S. presidential election in which women were able to vote in every state, but women’s rights advocates in Western states led the nation for many years. The Wyoming Territory gave women the right to vote in 1869. More than two decades later, in 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union as the first state that allowed women to vote, and in fact insisted it would not accept statehood without keeping suffrage.

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, welcome back contributing columnist Terry Gallagher! This is his second column …

Want to win an election? Get out the women’s vote.

It’s election day today in states across the country, but you probably won’t have to worry about long lines at your polling place: Voter participation has been declining for years, especially in the increasingly important primary elections.

And the declining participation rate is, once again, led by men.

A week-long series here last month looked at how men are taking themselves out of the mix these days, in terms of college attendance, volunteerism and a host of other measures.

They’re also not showing up to vote as often as women do.

From 1920 (when women were first able to vote in presidential elections in every state) until 1980, the voter turnout rate for men was larger than that for women, according to data compiled at Rutgers University. In every presidential election since 1980, the proportion of women who voted was larger than the proportion of men who showed up, and the gap has been widening.

In the 2012 presidential election, nearly 10 million more women voted than men.

Does it make a difference? You better believe it.

In 1992, for example, if only men voted, Bob Dole would have been elected over Bill Clinton.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post last month, columnist Catherine Rampell explained why it makes sense for candidates to appeal to women voters: “After all, we—unlike those democratic deadbeats known as men—show up to vote.”

Why do you think women are more active voters?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: Terry Gallagher has written about a wide range of topics. You can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. Email us at [email protected] with suggestions for Terry. And Please, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Series Navigation<< Get Out the Vote: Gerrymander got you locked up? Or will you go vote?Get Out the Vote: Good news about old age? You’re more likely to vote. >>