Charles Stewart's Election 2004 page

This page archives (and occasionally updates) my efforts to gather data concerning residual vote rates from the 2004 presidential election. The statistics below record the residual vote rates in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, among the states that officially report turnout. The first number is the 2000 presidential residual vote rate; the second number is the presidential rate for 2004. (States, like Kansas, that report turnout informally, are excluded, along with the other states that make no effort to record the number of voters, independent of legal ballots cast for president.) The links generally go to the Election Division, for those states that don't report turnout, or to the official canvas, for states that do.

I have gathered official presidential election returns in this spreadsheet. There are two data tabs. The first reports election returns by county. The second reports election returns by town, for states that had a small number of counties. (Delaware returns are reported by state representative district.) This spreadsheet was constructed to analyze the residual vote rate, and so the votes received by all candidates other than Kerry and Bush have been aggregated into an "other" category. If you are interested in disaggregated data election returns, but without turnout data, check out David Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.

A note about "negative" residual votes. You will notice that approximately 40 counties and 24 towns are reported to have negative residual votes, that is, more legal votes counted for president than the reported total turnout. Each of the counties that reported more votes for president than total turnout was contacted, and each verified the official count. (The towns have not been contacted.) As far as we can tell, therefore, these numbers are not in error. There are many reasons why a county may report more votes counted for president than total turnout. The most frequent reason concerns how election data are gathered. Turnout figures are often generated by counting the number of names that have been checked off of voter rolls, whereas vote tallies are taken from the machines themselves. In these cases, if someone is inadvertently not checked off the list, that person will have a vote recorded for president and not be included in the overall turnout number. Increasingly, jurisdictions are integrating the vote counting and turnout counting processes in one step; in these counties, the turnout number is simply the number of times the voting machine was activated (for DREs) or the number of times an optical scanner sensed a piece of paper go through the machine. In these jurisdictions, it is rare for the residual vote rates to be negative.

I am often asked about data concerning voting machines. In my research I have relied on data purchased from Election Data Services. It is proprietary data so, alas, I cannot share it. You are encouraged to contact them and purchace it yourself. There is a public web site with information about voting technologies used in most counties, maintained by I have found this site very useful for quick reference, but I caution academic researchers, since it is incomplete and not always consistent with the official sources they site. (This is not a knock on, which has done the Lord's Work in posting this data. Gathering voting technology data is very tedious and harder than most people expect. deserves credit for posting the data and documenting it so well.) Also, the site does not have information about individual municipalities, for those states in which cities and towns administer elections, not counties. This includes some of the upper midwest and all of New England.

Election-related pages (mostly polling)
State election offices
Usual links

Alabama *
Alaska (0.8%/0.6%)
Arkansas (---/1.5%)
California (1.6%/1.3%)
Colorado (---/0.9%)
Connecticut (1.0%/1.8%)
District of Columbia
Florida (2.9%/0.4%)
Georgia (3.5%/0.4%)
Idaho (2.9%/2.4%)
Illinois (3.8%/1.4%)
Indiana (1.5%/1.7%)
Iowa (0.9%/1.0% )
Kentucky (1.5%/0.9%)
Maryland (0.6%/0.3%)
Massachusetts (1.1%/0.5%)
Michigan (1.1%/0.7%)
Minnesota (---/0.5%)
Missouri *

Montana (1.7%/1.2%)
Nebraska (1.4%/1.8%)
New Hampshire (1.7%/1.2%)
New Jersey (1.0%/0.8%)
New Mexico (2.8%/2.5%)
New York (2.0%/0.8%)
North Carolina (3.4%/1.4%)
North Dakota (1.4%/1.0%)
Ohio (1.9%/1.7%)
Oregon (1.6%/0.8%)
Rhode Island (0.9%/0.9%)
South Carolina (3.5%/0.8%)
South Dakota (1.8%/1.7%)
Tennessee (1.1%/1.1%)
Texas (---/1.8%)
West Virginia (1.9%/1.7%)
Wisconsin (0.8%/0.2%)
Wyoming (1.5%/1.0%)

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*State does not report total turnout; residual vote cannot be calculated.

Last updated October 11, 2006

department of political science / massachusetts institute of technology
cambridge, massachusetts 02139 / 617.253.3127