Get Out And Vote

If you do one thing today, please make it a trip to the voting booth. You probably know by now that I am going to cast a vote for Barack Obama and I’ve tried on numerous occasions to explain why. But how I vote is not nearly as important as the number of people who vote today. We are a democracy, we pick our leaders, and every citizen in this country can vote. That includes women, minorities, naturalized citizens, and a host of others who have fought for and won the right to vote. Please go exercise it.

I heard on the weekend news shows that we might see 135mm people cast a vote this year. If so, it’s a big move up. Here’s some data I pulled together this morning, going back to the 1960 election, a year before I was born.


You’ll note that I am projecting Obama to get 10mm more votes than McCain today. We’ll see if that in fact happens, but I am optimistic. This chart shows that we’ve witnessed a significant increase in voters in the past three elections. That is good news. But to really see what’s going on you need to factor this by total population which I did in the following chart.


This chart shows that if I am right about the 135mm votes this election, the percentage of the US population (as measured by the census) who votes will have increased from 35% where it has largely been stuck for 40 years to almost 45%.

Well that is still pretty pathetic that less than half of the people who live in the US care enough to register and vote. But it’s progress.

If you figure that voting age citizens are about 62.5% of all citizens (taking out the kids – thanks Krassen and Dan), then this means that more than 70% of voting age citizens might vote this year. That’s a strong number and makes me feel good about america today.

So please do as this song I posted to my tumblog today suggests, please vote!


Comments (Archived):

  1. Guest

    that just can’t be true, Fred. Children under 18 don’t vote. Turnout as percentage of “voting age population” may approach or surpass 60% this year.

    1. fredwilson

      Damn. That’s the issue with doing math at 5 30am. I have to change my post now. What pcnt of the population is under 18 do you think?

      1. Karen E

        Not to mention people like my husband, a productive tax-paying resident of 15 years, who are not yet citizens. He can’t vote.

      2. Guest

        … well, to recalibrate your graph, I recommend the Election Atlas:http://www.uselectionatlas….it gives you % turnout by year, as well as all other kinds of data. You can easily waste hours there (I have).As a coincidence, Fred, I was just now looking at some public data on venture funds and noticed that as of June (the latest data available) you seem to have lots of dry powder. USV2004 is less than 70% drawn and USV2008 is practically untouched. All your talk about the incoming dearth of capital seems a bit off.I guess it’s good to have dry powder in these times, except that your line of investing seems to be aligned with the cycle (reliant on marketing and consumer $$$s, I imagine), which makes it tough to invest if the recession is long and deep. Are you, guys, thinking about some non-cyclical plays for USV2008? Studies have shown that in tough times escapism does well. Maybe some of these Second Life type of of companies will do very well….

        1. fredwilson

          Those numbers are not exactly right. The new fund is barely invested but the 2004 fund is about 70pcnt invested

  2. Dan T

    Good message – inappropriate denominator.From…In the presidential election of November 2004, the 64 percent of voting-age citizens who voted was higher than the60 percent who turned out in 2000 (Table A).2 This was the highest turnout in a presidential election year since1992, when 68 percent of voting-age citizens voted.almost 2/3rd of the people that could vote, did vote in 2004. We are not quite as pathetic as you thought – but still lot’s of room for improvement. I was pleased to see there were 50 people in front of me at 6:45AM, 15 minutes before our voting location opened.

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. I forgot about the kids. I’ll fix it. Dumb dumb dumb

  3. curmudgeonly troll

    People who don’t vote are dang foo’s.but maybe it’s a good thing for self-selected dang foo’s to not screw up the voting process.http://gregmankiw.blogspot….of course, dang foo’s probably don’t read this here blog.

  4. Brent Oesterblad

    I am hearing about long lines – not my experience. No line. Voted at 830 (polls opened at 7) and I was the 97th ballot submitted (In AZ machine has counter visible when you cast your ballot). I find the lack of participation in my neighborhood troubling. On your prediction for a 10M Obama victory – I absolutely agree (I wonder if Vegas has an over/under). A funny story my wife experienced last week at the local Trader Joe’s (grocery store). A woman wearing an Obama t-shirt is cheered (actually clapping) and high fived in the aisles of the store by other women shoppers. What makes this funny – we live in Paradise Valley Arizona – an “old” conservative affluent neighborhood – if this ISN”T John McCain country then it does not exist anywhere. Obama in a huge landslide.

  5. Hana Kim

    Yay for voting!

  6. andyswan

    Congrats to Obama supporters. A true testament to the validity of the American Dream and upward mobility. Ironic.In any event, very proud to be a citizen of a country that has such fluidity as to elect someone from a race that makes 10% of population and was originally enslaved to be President. It is inspiring.

    1. fredwilson

      My hope is he surprises you with decisions you would not expect him to makeandy

      1. andyswan

        Me too!

  7. andyswan

    Turnout was LOWER than 2004…wasn’t expecting that.

    1. fredwilson

      I am shockedWhen I saw the numbers this morning 62mm for Obama and 50 something million for McCain, I thought they hadn’t counted all of it