Voting in 1960

September 21, 1960

Report Outline
New Emphasis on Registration to Vote
Factors Bearing on Size of 1960 Vote
Appeals to Special Groups of Voters
Special Focus

New Emphasis on Registration to Vote

Extent of Citizen Participation in Elections

Forecasts of an extremely close contest at the polls on November 8 between the two contenders for the Presidency—Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy—have served to focus more than ordinary attention on the power of the individual participant in a free election. Both major parties and a number of non-partisan organizations have undertaken far-reaching campaigns to persuade eligible citizens to register as voters and to cast their ballots on election day.

The Census Bureau estimates that there will be about 108,900,000 Americans of voting age, including 1,900,000 members of the armed forces, by the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. The total comprises all persons who by then will have attained the age of 21 years, and younger persons eligible to vote in certain states—as young as 18 in Georgia and Kentucky, 19 in Alaska, and 20 in Hawaii.

Unless the current unprecedented efforts to get out a large vote are effective, fewer than two-thirds of the men and women of voting age will go to the polls this year. The 61,522,000 persons who cast ballots for President in 1952 constituted only 62.7 per cent of the 98,133,000 civilians estimated by the Census Bureau to have been of voting age at the time of that election. Yet the turnout eight years ago was larger proportionately than in any national election since shortly after the Civil War. The 62,027,000 persons who went to the polls in 1956 constituted only 60.4 per cent of an estimated total of 102,743,000 civilians of voting age.

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Sep. 21, 1960  Voting in 1960
Jan. 06, 1960  Presidential Primaries, 1960
Jan. 04, 1956  Campaign Smearing
Nov. 30, 1955  Presidential Possibilities, 1956
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Jan. 16, 1952  Presidential Primaries, 1952
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