Active Voters

Voter registration is one method to measure the level of citizen engagement in the political process and the civic concerns of their community. Low voter registration rates can be interpreted in many ways. Some argue that low voter registration rates reflect a citizenry’s lack of interest in the political process, a disconnection between citizen and government, and a sentiment that participation does not affect outcomes. Another interpretation of low voter registration is that this trend reflects a citizenry that is satisfied with the status quo. Language and educational barriers also influence voter registration rates by inhibiting participation. Voter registration rates are, in some ways, a better indicator of civic participation than voter turnout rates because the former do not reflect as much year-to-year variation based on the issues or elections on the ballot. This indicator measures the total number of registered voters divided by the total population over the age of 18, which approximates the voter registration rate.

Between 2014 and 2016, the voter registration rate increased slightly, from 82.7% in 2015 to 85.3% in 2016. Increases occurred across all three counties in the region.