S. Dakota young people voter turnout stats higher 6-23-07

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota ranked third in the nation in terms of voter turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds in the 2006 election, according to a new report.

South Dakota's turnout was 39 percent. Minnesota led with 43 percent, followed by 40 percent in Wisconsin.

Nationally, the voter turnout in that age group rose 3 percentage points between 2002 and 2006, from 22 percent to 25 percent, according to the report from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement - or CIRCLE.

CIRCLE was founded in 2001 with a grant from the Pew Charitable trusts and is also funded by the Carnegie Corp. of New York. It is based at the University of Maryland.

“It is likely that differences in electoral participation among young people across states was driven by high-profile gubernatorial and congressional races and statewide initiatives on the ballot in midterm years,” the report said.

In November 2006, South Dakota voters rejected a ballot measure that sought a near total ban on abortions.

The CIRCLE report says the voter turnout rate for South Dakotans age 30 and older in 2006 was 71 percent.

In 1994, the 18-29 year-old rate was 37 percent in South Dakota, which was 2 percentage points less than the 2006 rate, the report says.

Regionally, the Midwest had the highest youth voter turnout rate at 31 percent. College graduates and married people also had relatively high turnout percentages.

The youth voter turnout among American Indians declined 14 percentage points nationwide from 1994, the CIRCLE study indicated.

The 2006 midterm elections followed the 2004 presidential election, which had the highest level of youth voter turnout in more than a decade: 49 percent.