Texas loves elections. Or so it would seem, judging by the sheer number of them. Ignoring municipal and other local elections, Texas holds at least one statewide election every year and typically several. But judging by participation in them, Texans hate elections. This chart shows that turnout in every type of election in Texas is lower than turnout nationwide in presidential elections which averaged 52.5 percent during this period. Turnout in Texas presidential elections is routinely higher than other types of state elections, though, averaging 45.2 percent. Gubernatorial election turnout averages only 28.4 percent while presidential and gubernatorial primary turnout is lower yet averaging 18.2 percent and 15.0 percent respectively. Special constitutional elections in which voters decide on changes to the Texas constitution epitomize the electoral turn-off, averaging a dismal 8.7 percent.
Turnout is typically calculated as the number of votes cast divided by the voting-age population (VAP) which is estimated by the Census Bureau as the number of residents in a jurisdiction eighteen years and older. Note that VAP is an estimate since it includes persons ineligible to vote, mainly non-citizens and ineligible felons, and excludes overseas eligible voters. Primary election turnout estimates here combine in the numerator votes cast in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. National Turnout as a percentage of VAP is from the Federal Election Commission at http://www.fec.gov, accessed 1 July 2004. Texas turnout figures are from the Texas Secretary of State at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/historical/70-92.shtml, accessed 2 January 2013.
For the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, national turnout as a percentage of VAP comes from the United States Elections Project, George Mason University, http://elections.gmu.edu, January 2, 2013.