New voting data from the November election revealed increased turnout across most demographics in Alachua County.
The county saw turnout increases among voters identifying as Black, white, Hispanic and ‘other’ compared to 2016, according to Alachua County Supervisor of Elections data. Turnout for men and women also increased, but turnout for those who didn’t identify as either decreased.
Alachua County voting trends followed surges in turnout nationwide. A fiery campaign between incumbent President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden drew more voters than ever before. Biden won Alachua County by 27 percentage points, more than 38,000 votes. More than 154 million people voted despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
Three of every four registered voters in Alachua County cast a ballot in November’s election, according to Supervisor of Elections data. County-wide turnout increased 1.7% from 2016.
The largest increase in votes came from voters aged 66 and older. About 6,300 more people in this demographic voted compared to 2016. Nationally, voters aged 65 and older accounted for about one in five ballots, according to Edison Research exit polling.
Young voters aged 18-25 voted in slightly fewer numbers in Alachua County compared to 2016. About 1,000 fewer voters in this demographic cast a ballot compared to 2016. However, this data does not account for the numbers of UF students who chose to vote in their home counties instead of Alachua County, as Fall semester has been mostly online. Gainesville saw a disproportionate loss in college-aged voters compared to other municipalities.
Voters 18-29 made up 17% of all voters nationwide, according to exit polling. About a quarter of ballots in Alachua County were cast by voters aged 18-30. That total surpasses national trends but is less than the almost 30% that the group accounted for in Alachua County for 2016.
National estimates show a substantial increase in youth voting turnout. An estimated 53% to 56% of the voting-eligible population aged 18-29 voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to an estimate from Tufts University. In 2016, an estimated 45% to 48% of the voting-eligible population aged 18-29 voted in the presidential election.
White voters accounted for more than two thirds of Alachua County ballots, while Black voters made up 15%. This followed national voting trends, but was disproportionate to Alachua County, where the population is 60% white and 19% Black, according to 2019 census estimates.
White turnout in Alachua County increased from 76% in the 2016 presidential election to 78% in November. Black turnout in Alachua County increased by less than 1%.
White women were the largest voter demographic in Alachua County in November’s election. The group accounted for 36% of Alachua County’s more than 140,000 votes.
Votes by women slightly surpassed their 52% share of the county’s population, according to census estimates. Nationwide, women were 52% of voters, according to exit polling.
Ballots from Hispanic voters accounted for about 7% of ballots in Alachua County for the 2020 presidential election; less than their estimated 10% share of the county’s population. Turnout in Alachua County among these voters increased 2% from 2016. Nationally, Hispanic voters made up 13% of ballots, according to exit polling.
Steven Walker is the Fall 2021 Editor in Chief of The Alligator. He has previously worked at the Orlando Sentinel; and has bylines in the Miami Herald, Associated Press and Florida Times Union. In his free time, he likes to take long walks with his dog Luna and watch his favorite sports teams, the Orlando Magic and the Green Bay Packers.