Election 2020: Unregistered Voters in Swing States
Date: October 22, 2020
Election Day is now less than two weeks away. Among registered voters, the vast majority of minds have been made up—and adding to the sense of urgency, tens of millions have already voted. With record low numbers of undecided voters left to convince, some pundits say that energizing and activating unregistered eligible voters may be the surest way for the campaigns to make any further gains. This week, we continue our election-related data analysis by looking at unregistered voters in key states, finding that millions of unregistered voters still have time to register and vote in the 2020 presidential election.
While the deadline to register has passed in many states, 7 out of 13 swing states allow for same-day registration on Election Day or during early voting, including Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Focusing on these 7 swing states with same-day registration (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin) to determine how many unregistered voters could still participate in this year’s election. We combined our recent data on the changing electorate in swing states with voter data from the 2008-2018 Current Population Survey to forecast the registration rates of different segments of the population in the 7 swing states
The data show that significant numbers of eligible voters are likely still unregistered in these key states:
- In the 7 swing states that allow for same-day registration, there are more than 572,000 unregistered Hispanic voters, including 186,000 in Nevada; almost 126,000 in North Carolina, which allows for in-person registration during early voting; and more than 101,000 in Michigan.
- There are more than 980,000 unregistered Black or African American voters across the 7 swing states, including more than 466,000 in North Carolina and almost 292,000 in Michigan.
- There are also almost 305,000 unregistered Asian voters spread across the 7 swing states, including in Nevada (77,400), Michigan, (63,800), and Minnesota (58,700).
- While we expect there to be almost 11.8 million registered immigrant voters this year–an all-time high–nearly 40 percent of all eligible immigrant voters nationwide remain unregistered. In the 7 swing states the share of eligible immigrant voters that remain unregistered ranges from 40.6 percent in Nevada, to 28.0 percent in North Carolina.
- In some swing states that allow for same-day registration, unregistered immigrant voters form a sizable bloc of untapped electoral power, including in Michigan (99,800), Nevada (84,800), and North Carolina (56,200).
Table 1: Number of Unregistered Voters in Swing States with Same-Day Voter Registration
|State||Non-Hispanic White||Black / African American||Asian||Hispanic||Other||Total||2016 Margin|
Table 2: Unregistered Immigrant Voters in Swing States
|State||Immigrant Eligible Voters||Share of Immigrant Eligible Voters, Unregistered||Number of Unregistered Immigrant Voters|