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Nucleus Learning Network Data Vis Series: Voter turnout

Monday, January 9, 2017 by Sarah Morris, Nucleus Learning Network

Join Sarah Morris, a librarian who co-directs an educational nonprofit called Nucleus Learning Network, as she explores data visualization in a new series.

Travis County, and much of Texas and the country, saw record voter turnout levels during the 2016 election. That begs the question: How have voter turnout numbers looked in Travis County and Texas over time? A series of charts, created with ChartBlocks, are an attempt to answer that question.

First, here are voter turnout percentages for the entire state of Texas, from 1972-2016. This data came from the Texas Secretary of State website.

texas-election-voter-turnout

The spike in turnout in 1992 is interesting and could merit some research. (Was there a bump in turnout thanks to Texan Ross Perot?) While data visuals, even a basic bar graph, can be a simple way to convey information, they can also help raise questions and inspire research projects.

Next is a comparison of election turnouts from Travis County and the entire state of Texas. The information about Travis County came from the Travis County Clerk’s office.

texas-vs-travis-county-voter-turnout

Travis County has outperformed the state in terms of voter turnout consistently in recent years. It would certainly be interesting to explore what factors contribute to the higher turnout in Travis County and to see if that trend in turnout holds in other urban areas in the state.

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