Senior Voters Rule in Municipal Elections

A recent publication by Portland State University reminds us how important older voters are in municipal elections. A 2016 study of 45 cities in the USA found that the average age of a municipal voters was 15 years older than the average age of the registered voter.  And not surprising the average age got two years older in the runoff as younger people were more likely to drop off.

 The study also measured the relative influence each generation had on voter outcome based on their share of the overall vote. In a city like Portland with a relatively young average voter age, seniors votes were still 3 times more influential in the final outcome than they would have been if people voted in proportion to their percentage of registered voters. On the other end of the spectrum were cities like Las Vegas where the generational clout of seniors was more than 40 times what it would be if younger voters turned out in proportion to their registration levels.


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