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Posted on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 8:02 a.m.

Voter turnout in Ann Arbor's youth-dominated areas slips below national average

By Kellie Woodhouse

After President Barack Obama handily won re-election over GOP challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday, hundreds of students in Ann Arbor flocked to the University of Michigan Diag to celebrate.


Students celebrate Barack Obama's victory at the University of Michigan Diag late Tuesday night.

But an analysis of voter turnout figures by The Michigan Daily suggests that the youth turnout in Ann Arbor trailed the national youth vote.

The average turnout rate in student areas near the university —including precincts near central campus and the residential areas near north campus— was 36.2 percent, according to the article.

Nationwide, the average turnout rate for registered voters under 30 was estimated at 48.3 percent, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.


University of Michigan students wait in the Michigan League to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

Daniel Brenner I

The 36.2 percent turnout rate is also significantly lower than the countywide turnout rate. This year Washtenaw County's registered voters averaged a turnout rate of 64.5 percent, or 181,032 voters.

After Obama was declared the victor of the Nov. 6 election, hundreds of students flocked to the Diag to celebrate the president's re-election, chanting "four more years, four more years."

Many students voted for the first time.

"It feels wonderful. I was so excited to turn in my ballot," sophomore Kiana Alexander, who voted in her first presidential election Tuesday, told while celebrating at the Michigan Union election party. "I was going to vote straight ticket, but I just wanted to fill in all the bubbles."

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Nov 11, 2012 : 6:32 a.m.

As an English professor at a community college, I know that students must become informed voters if they hope to reap the benefits from their schooling and truly become educated members of our society. Read about it (and other issues) here:

Renee S.

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Ah, the straight ticket, boon of the intellectually lazy.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Ron Paul wasn't on the ballot. He had the support of many young people.

David Cahill

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

The Daily article does not mention the important fact that thousands of students who have left the area are still registered to vote here, and can't easily be removed. This fact means that the Daily's calculation of the percentage of students who voted is artificially low.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

Good point.

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

@rs A lot of students at the university to vote via absentee ballot or, if they're local, go to their home precincts. I talked to several such students when I was on the Diag reporting Tuesday night. However the 36.2 percent figure is derived from the number of voters (of certain precincts) registered here in Ann Arbor who showed up at the polls Tuesday. Those who voted absentee likely aren't registered here, thus they wouldn't drag down the percentage.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

A lot of students vote in their home precincts via absentee ballot. Just because they come here to go to school doesn't necessarily mean the register here for voting.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Does this data account for the fact that voters can remain on voter rolls long after they've graduated and left the area? I, for example, live and vote in Ann Arbor, but am still registered in two other states, simply because I never unregistered there. So even if 75% of current students voted, if you compare the number who participated with students graduating years ago, this number will be off.

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

"Let someone else do the work of voting! I've got a victory celebration to go to!"