• About the Project
1.4.1 Registered Voters and Participation Rates, Boston
Why is this important?

As an indicator of civic health, voter participation rates reflect democracy in action - the degree to which people exercise individual choices to produce community leaders and collectively influence policies and laws.  Not all Bostonians are eligible to vote today, but electoral politics in Boston also provide a pathway to leadership for newcomers and their descendants. 

How are we doing?

As of 2011, more than 347,000 Bostonians were registered to vote with the largest increases spurred by the 2008 presidential election, 2009 mayoral election and 2010 gubernatorial election.  Though the total number of registered voters fell from the peak of more than 370,000 in 2010, there are nearly 100,000 more registered voters in Boston today than in 2010.

A total of 63,009 ballots were cast in the 2011 City Council election, which typically draw lower turnout than presidential, gubernatorial or mayoral elections.  However, this was a 36% increase over the last City Council election in 2007 when 46,249 ballots were cast.

Neighborhoods with the highest turnout rates for the 2011 election--greater than 30%--were in Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, West Roxbury and Hyde Park.  The lowest turnout rates--below 14%--were in student-dominated neighborhoods such as Fenway, Allston and Brighton.

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