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Tennessee’s Higher Turnout In 2020 Split Largely Along Party Lines

Blake Farmer

  Tennessee’s new record for voter turnout largely did not affect the balance of partisan power in the state.

Tennessee voters cast about 3.1 million votes this election, according to unofficial results posted by the state of Tennessee.  That shatters the previous record in 2008 — when 2.6 million voters cast ballots for John McCain or Barack Obama — and is about 600,000 voters higher than during the last election cycle, when Donald Trump ran against Hillary Clinton.

Compared to 2016, about 21% more Tennesseans came out to vote.

Even with the higher numbers, President Trump’s support in Tennessee has remained the same: He secured about 61% of votes then and now. The Democratic side did see slightly more support compared to 2016 — Biden took about 37% of votes compared to Clinton’s 35% — which could be because far fewer people cast ballots for a third party this year.

Analyzing the numbers a different way: Of the total additional voters who cast ballots this election, 55% voted Republican and 45% voted Democrats.

But because of the relatively low Democratic showing in 2016, those additional left-leaning voters this year represent a 31% increase over 2016, while Republicans increased by 21%.


Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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