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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Jan. 31, 2020  Presidential Primaries
Nov. 16, 2018  The Presidency
Jan. 06, 2017  Trump Presidency
Mar. 06, 2015  Presidential Power
Feb. 03, 2012  Presidential Election
Jan. 30, 2009  The Obama Presidency
Aug. 08, 2008  Political Conventions
Jul. 18, 2008  Race and Politics
Apr. 20, 2007  Electing the President
Dec. 30, 1988  Promises vs. Problems
Jul. 10, 1987  Presidential Nomination Process
Feb. 03, 1984  Choosing Presidential Nominees
Jun. 06, 1980  Choosing Presidential Candidates
Apr. 09, 1976  Presidential Campaign Coverage
Feb. 23, 1972  Political Conventions
May 27, 1964  Foreign Policy Issues in Election Campaigns
Sep. 21, 1960  Voting in 1960
Jan. 06, 1960  Presidential Primaries, 1960
Jan. 04, 1956  Campaign Smearing
Nov. 30, 1955  Presidential Possibilities, 1956
May 09, 1952  Open Conventions
Jan. 16, 1952  Presidential Primaries, 1952
Oct. 12, 1949  Modernization of the Presidential Election
Jan. 14, 1948  Presidential Primaries
May 01, 1944  Foreign Policy in National Elections
Jan. 01, 1944  Choice of Candidates for the Presidency
Apr. 08, 1940  Republican Candidates for the Presidency, 1940
Apr. 01, 1940  Democratic Candidates for the Presidency, 1940
Jun. 19, 1939  Selection of Nominees for the Presidency
Aug. 19, 1938  Nomination by Primary
Mar. 11, 1936  Voting in Presidential Elections
Feb. 18, 1936  Presidential Candidates, 1936
Mar. 03, 1932  Decline of the Presidential Primary
Aug. 25, 1931  Presidential Candidates, 1932
May 05, 1928  National Nominating Conventions
Sep. 03, 1927  Presidential Candidates—1928
Jun. 14, 1927  Patronage Influence in Nominating Conventions
Sep. 11, 1926  The Future of the Direct Primary
Jul. 02, 1924  Proposed Reforms of Presidential Nominating Methods
Jun. 04, 1924  The Machinery of the Political Conventions
Mar. 15, 1924  Presidential Candidates and the Issues
Sep. 05, 1923  The Passing of the Second Term
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Popular Culture