Did Arizonans Vote in 2016? Yea or Nay?

Posted on January 16, 2018 • Category: Civic Health


Percentage of Arizonans that voted in the 2016 general election,
the highest voter turnout since the 2010 midterm election.

2016 Arizona Civic Health Index Results

National Conference on Citizenship


The growing disconnect between citizens and government is well-documented, and nowhere more powerfully than in the 2016 Democracy Index. Published annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the study uses a set of 60 indicators to provide a worldwide snapshot of democracy as it’s practiced today. The overall score of 7.98 for the U.S. drops our country from the ranks of a “full democracy” to one of 57 “flawed” democracies.

The overall score of 7.98 for the U.S. drops our country from the ranks of a “full democracy” to one of 57 “flawed” democracies.

The U.S. has dropped because of two factors:

  • Lack of trust in government
  • Low political participation


The new 2016 Democracy Index describes a “full democracy” as having a voter turnout above 70%. The U.S. has not seen that since 1900. Arizona has never achieved that turnout among eligible voters.

National General Election Turnout 1940-2016


Published annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Democracy Index attributes America’s slip from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” to lack of voter participation coupled with the distrust that Americans have in government, especially the federal government. Since 2010, the Arizona Civic Health Index has tracked Arizonans’ participation in a wide range of civic behaviors.

In 2017, the U.S. Census fielded this question to U.S. citizens who did not vote in the 2016 election:

Why Didn't You Vote in 2016?


Arizonans are conflicted. Nearly half of those who report they did not vote in the 2016 election (47.2%) say they either “Didn’t like the candidates of campaign issues,” or “Felt their vote would not make a difference.” This exceeds the national average (40.2%) for these two responses by seven percent.

One of the most important factors in civic health is voter turnout.
The following U.S. Census results from the last three general and midterm elections provide a clear look at how Arizonans have responded to elections over the past six cycles:

Midterm Election Turnout


General Election Turnout


In a previously published AZ Snapshot on democracy and citizenship, CFA quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said that “To be just, majority decisions must be in the interests of all the people, not just one faction.”



Falling below the 8.0 threshold for a “full” democracy, the U.S. drops to one of 57 “flawed” democracies.
2016 Democracy Index  

The Economist Intelligence Unit, January 25, 2017

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Lattie F. Coor

My Perspective

When CFA set out to build a citizens' agenda for Arizona, we didn't know it would end up placing Arizona at the center of a national struggle to address the challenges confronting democracy today–the growing lack of confidence that citizens have in government and their growing lack of participation in the civic life of our communities and nation.

In many ways, Arizona is a microcosm of these challenges. This fact was made clear in the results of the Gallup Arizona Poll (2009), which identified the deep concerns that Arizonans have about the need for both effective leaders and engaged citizens. CFA is now in the process of building Arizona Progress Meters for each of the 8 citizen goals defined by the people who live here. The culmination of these goals is The Arizona We Want.

The Arizona We Want is a long-term vision and it can be achieved if we work together.

Learn More about how CFA is activating the citizens' agenda for Arizona.

Citizen goals sit at the heart of all we do.