Complete Official 2004 Election Results


   More than a record 123,271,028 voters cast ballots in the 2004 presidential race, an increase of 16,319,910 (15.26%) over the 2000 election record.  Just to put the increase in perspective, Woodrow Wilson's re-election in 1916, eighty-eight years earlier, was the first presidential election where the total turnout exceeded sixteen million.  These numbers are understated, because nine states: Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Mississippi, Maine, Kentucky, Arkansas and Alabama do not keep a record of the total number of ballots cast and use the number of votes for the highest office.

   These nine states cast over 25,000,000 ballots, and seeing as it is normal for less than 1% of the voters to skip the highest office, it is probable that almost 123.5 million ballots (71.4%) were cast in 2004, out of a total 172,948,588 registered voters, although the number of registered is inflated.  Some of these statistical anomalies may disappear in 2008 due to the Help America Vote Act. More than 1,006,240 (0.816%) people voted in the election, but skipped the presidential line.  Because of the nine states that do not report numbers of ballots cast, that percentage is closer to 1%.

    Increased turnout ran from a high of 35.62% in Nevada to a low of 5.75% in Vermont.  Usually, voters turn out to throw them out.  In 2004, however, voters turned out to keep Bush.  Of the 26* states below the 15.26% median and average, Bush and Kerry split them 13 each.  But of the 25 states above the 15.26% median and average, Bush carried 18 while Kerry carried only 7.  And the highest turnout states were heavily contested.  Bush carried Nevada with only 50.69% of the vote.  Arizona, the second highest at 30.69%, he carried by a more substantial margin of 54.87%.  But New Mexico, which saw the third highest turnout increase at 25.94%, was a squeaker that Bush won with 49.85% of the vote to Kerry's 49.05%.  Less than 6,000 separated them out of over 775,000 ballots cast.  Ohio was the ninth highest turnout increase at 19.78%, after Florida 24.46%, Georgia 23.55%, South Dakota 22.59%, Colorado 21.67%, and Utah at 20.07% (yet another indication that Ohio legitimately went for Bush. It also casts some doubt on the allegations of voter suppression in Ohio. Ohio had the highest increase in turnout of any state in the northeast or midwest.  The only states with higher increases were the fast growing states of the west and south.)  Of the top ten highest increase in turnout, Bush carried 9 and Kerry carried 1.  Of the lowest seven, Kerry carried 6 and Bush carried 1. And few of the lower turnout states were competitive.

* The District of Columbia is counted as a state.

Link to state by state comparison of 2000 and 2004 Turnout.


   In the presidential race, 122,264,788 ballots were cast for 15 candidates who ran national campaigns plus another 23 named candidates and 35,412 write-ins.  Bush beat Kerry by 3,000,120 votes, 62,028,201 to 59,028,081.  Bush received 50.23% of the vote cast in the election. Is it any wonder his second term has had zero accomplishments? He was elected to get us out of the war he got us into.  Kerry got 47.8%.  Badnarik, the Libertarian, got 397,231.  Peroutka, the Constitution Party candidate, received 143,126.  The Green Party's David Cobb garnered 116,055; and erstwhile Green Party candidate, Independent Ralph Nader got 456,574. 

   John Joseph Kennedy, who ran in multiple states, received 1,877; which shows how far one can go on name recognition alone.  Harris, the perennial Socialist Worker's Party candidate, got 5,834. Brown got 10,800.  Here is a list of the rest.

  Amondson 1,944; Van Auken 1,859; Calero, the Socialist Worker's Party candidate, 3,595; Parker 1,644; Lawson Bone 12;Joe Schriner 141 were the candidates who received named votes in more than one state. 

 The candidates who received votes in only one state were: Peltier 27,607; James Pace 8; Jabin 1; Andress 241; Dodge (perennial Prohibition candidate) 140;  Alero 12; Camejo 115; Renderos 2;   Robert Boyle 1;  Harens 2,387;  Robert Beattie 3; Howard Dean 42; Wesley Powell 14; Wesley Clark 14; John Edwards 35; Dennis Kucinich 8; Michael Halpin 4; Wishnatsky 9; Zych 11; Duncan 17; Falk 219; Allen 92; Charles 946; Hayward 3; and write-ins 35,412.  (The votes for Dean, Clark, Edwards and Kucinich all came from New Hampshire.  There are certainly more for all of them in the 35,412 write-ins, most likely in the same proportion.)

Link to state by state comparison of 2000 and 2004 President vote.


    In the Senate races, the Republicans came out on top 19 to 14.  Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho did not even have a Democratic opponent.  Nevertheless, Democratic candidates for Senate received 36,660,812 votes to the Republican's 34,803,733.  The Republicans were winning 57.5% of the Senate seats with 45% of the popular vote.  The Democrats won 42% of the Senate seats with 47.4% of the popular vote.  Independent candidates received 2,040,364 votes, or 2.6% of the total, while 3,848,708 voters (5%) skipped the Senate races entirely.

    In 2004, John McCain of Arizona received the highest percentage of any contested candidate running for Senate.  This bodes well for his presidential prospects in 2008.

Link to state by state Senate  2004 spreadsheet.


    In 2004, 112,066,497 votes were cast for House races.  This means more than 11,204,804 voters, or 9%, skipped the race for House of Representatives.  So, 1% didn't cast ballots for president, 5% passed on the Senate races, and 9% did not vote for the House.

    This is understandable given that 65 of the 435 house districts (14.94%, or better than 1 in 7) had only one major party candidate for the House of Representatives.  Thirty-six Republicans and 29 Democrats had no major party opponent in November.  The Democrats gave the Republicans a 7 seat head start in the race for control, and a one seat head start in the Senate.  This meant that the Democrats needed to win more than 51% of the contested races to win control of the House, while the Republicans only had to win less than 49%.

    In the end, the Republicans won 233 seats while the Democrats won 201, with the lone independent caucusing with the Democrats.  The Republican candidates received 55,997,356 an increase of 8,290,727 (17.8%) over 2000.  The Democrats got 53,121,670 which is an increase of 6,683,666 (14.3%) over the 2000 election.  In 2000, the Republican House candidates bested the Democrats by only 70,363 votes.  Four years later, that margin grew to 2,875,686.  The Republicans won 48.16% of the House vote in 2000 compared to 49.96% four years later.  The Democrats won 48.08% of the House vote in 2000 compared to 47.40% in 2004. The relatively better performance of Democrats in House races in 2000 can be explained by the fact that Gore served in the House while neither Edwards nor Kerry served there.

    The House races prove, once again if it is necessary, that the 2004 election was not stolen from Kerry.  To use the British election paradigm, the swing in the presidential race was from a Gore lead of 538,948 to a Kerry deficit of 3,000,120 for a total of 3,539,068.  In the House races, the swing from the Democrats to the Republicans was from a deficit of 70,363 in 2000 to a deficit of 2,875,686 in 2000.  So, the swing to the Republicans was 3 million votes, plus or minus in both the presidential and  the House races.

    Now, let's assume that everyone who voted for Gore voted for Kerry, and everyone who voted for Bush in 2000 voted for Bush in 2004.  That means the 3 million vote swing had to come from the 16,319,910 voters who cast ballots in 2004 but not in 2000.  To get a 3,539,068 swing out of 15,667,113 extra presidential voters who voted for the major party candidates, 9,603,090 had to vote Republican and 6,064,022 had to vote democratic.  In the House races, there were 14,426,800 extra votes for the major party candidates.  To get a 2,805,323 vote swing 8,616,061 had to vote Republican and 5,810,739 had to vote Democratic.  In other words, of the 16 million extra voters in 2004, 9 million voted for the Republicans and 6 million voted for the Democrats.  That's why Bush won and the Republicans kept control of the House.

Ohio House Races

    A look at the House races in Ohio further confirms that Kerry did not have the election stolen from him.  In 2000, Bush beat Gore in Ohio by 166,735.  In 2004, Bush beat Kerry in Ohio by 118,601.  In 2000, the Republicans beat the Democrats in the House races by 136,609.  In 2004, the Republicans beat the Democrats in the House races by 135,507.  Given the increase in turnout and the migration from independent candidates in the House races, the Republican percentage increased from 49.14% in 2000 to 51.12% in 2004.  The Democratic House percentage in Ohio increased from 46.14% in 2000 to 48.51% in 2004. So, while the Republican percentage in Ohio House races increased 1.98% and the Democratic percentage increased 2.37%.  What does this prove?  It proves that the Democrats ran better in Ohio in 2004 than they did in 2000, but not better enough to win.  

    The 926,454 increase in Ohio's turnout reduced Bush's margin by 48,134.  At that rate, another 2,282,760 voters would have had to cast ballots to give Ohio to Kerry in 2004.  The Ohio turnout was 5,722,443.  Add 2,282,760 and the total needed to give Ohio to Kerry is 8,005,203 voters.  Seeing as there were only 7,972,826 registered in 2004, it is unlikely that the Republicans suppressed the vote enough to give the victory to Bush.

    Using the 0.39% gain in the House races, Democrats would have needed more than 15 million more votes to erase Bush's 118,601 margin over Kerry in Ohio.  Why is the point that Bush beat Kerry legitimately in 2004 being belabored?  Because the refusal of the Democrats to accept the legitimacy of their defeat and the integrity of the electronic voting machines is going to saddle voters with "verifiable paper trails" an expensive, insecure, administrative nightmare for another generation.  Bush may have contempt for the American voter and any opinion other than his own.  Stealing the 2000 election certainly demonstrates that.  But the Democrats are Luddites when it comes to electronic voting machines.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state House Vote comparison spreadsheet

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state House Party comparison spreadsheet

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state comparison of each House District spreadsheet


    There were 11 governors races in 2004.  Unusually, in Indiana and Utah the Governor's race attracted more votes than the presidential race.  Turnout in the Governors races rose 15.33%, from 13,228,851 in 2000 to 15,256,598 in 2004.  Given that the total turnout in the Governor election states was 15,536,336 votes, that means that 279,998 voters, or about 1.8%, skipped the Governor's race. Seeing as Missouri, one of the nine non total ballot tabulating states, had a Governor's race and 2.5 million voters, it is probable that almost 2% of the voters skipped the Governor's race.  So, 1% don't vote for president, 2% don't vote for Governor, 5% don't vote for Senate and 9% don't vote for the House.

  In 2000, when Gore was winning the election, Democrats won 8 of these 11 gubernatorial races.  The Republican vote rose 24.66%, an increase of  1,471,978 to 7,438,657 while the Democratic vote gain was 8.5%, an increase of 591,738 to 7,534,180.  

     Republicans won 48.75% of the gubernatorial vote while Democrats won 49.3%, neither party gaining a majority.  In 2000, on the other hand, Democrats won 52.4% of the gubernatorial vote while Republicans garnered just 45.1%.  In 2000, Democrats won 8 governor races while the Republicans won only 3.  In 2004, Republicans won 5 while Democrats won 6.

    In 2000, Democratic candidates for governor received 975,763 more votes than Republican candidates.  In 2004, that number fell to 95,523, less than 10% of the margin four years earlier.

  Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Governor comparison spreadsheet

Lieutenant Governor

    Five of the eleven states that elected Governors also elected Lieutenant Governors.  In most states, the Lieutenant Governor runs on the same ticket with the Governor.  Of these five states, two: North Carolina and Washington elected Democratic Governors and Republican Lieutenant Governors.  Delaware elected Democrats while Missouri and Vermont elected Republicans.  The Lieutenant Governor candidates received 9,363,996 votes, 5% less than the total number of votes cast in the election.  So, the vote for Lieutenant Governor is on a par with United States Senate.

    Republican Lieutenant Governor candidates received 4,495,090 votes (48.00%), up 1,053,821 (30.62%) from the 3,441,269 four years earlier.  Democrats squeaked by with 4,521,524 votes (48.29%), up 225,612 (5.2%) from 4,295,912 in 2000.  Independent candidates got 347,382 (3.70%), up by 13,268 votes (3.97%) from the 334,114 obtained in 2000, but down from the 4.14%.

    In short, Lieutenant Governor is a derivative office, which is why most states bundle it together with the Governor, which it closely follows in voter turnout.

 Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Lieutenant Governor comparison spreadsheet

Attorneys General

    Eleven states elected Attorneys General, all but two electing Governors.  Five states elected Republicans and six elected Democrats.  In 2000, when Al Gore was winning, Democrats elected seven and Republicans four. Of the nine states that elected Governors and Attorneys General, three split the parties between the two parties: Missouri and Vermont elected Republican Governors and Democratic Attorneys General; while Washington elected a Democratic Governor and a Republican Attorney General.

    Splitting party control of the chief executive and the chief law enforcement official is one way that voters can and do add a political layer of checks and balances to the statutory ones.  The lone Republican gain in 2004 was because Christine Gregoire, the Washington Attorney General, was elected Governor.  Only one candidate, Mike McGrath of Montana, had no major party opponent.

    20,781,569 votes were cast for Attorney General out of 22,094,909 cast in the eleven states.  Therefore, 5.94% of the voters skipped Attorney General, making the office only slightly less important than the United States Senate and more important than the House of Representatives.  

    Republican candidates got 10,007,605 votes (48.16% of the vote for Attorney General and 45.29% of the vote cast in the election) to the Democrats' 10,352,263 (49.81%, 46.85%) and 423,701 votes for independents (2.04%, 1.92%.)  Neither major party commanded a majority.  

    In 2000, on the other hand, Democratic Attorney General candidates scored a clear majority of the votes cast for the office (51.43%), but only 47.78% of the votes cast in the election.  Because two of the eleven Attorneys General had no major party opponent in 2000, the percentage of voters who skipped the office was 7.1%.  Turnout is directly related to the number of contested races.  Democrats got 9,132,025 votes for Attorney General in four years ago, 1,520,238  less than in 2004. 

    Republicans received 8,066,028 (45.43% of the vote for Attorney General and 42.20% of the vote cast in the election) 1,941,577 less than in 2004.  Independents received 556,746 (3.13% and 2.91% respectively) 133,045 votes more than four years later.  One consistent message of the 2004 election is that not only did turnout increase, but that people who cast independent ballots in 2000 voted for the two major parties, with a bias toward Republicans.

   Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Attorney General comparison spreadsheet

Secretaries of State

    Secretary of State was the only office where the Democrats gained on the Republicans in 2004.  In the eight states electing Secretaries, the tally remained at 4-4, although two states turned over.  Republican Matt Blunt of Missouri went from Secretary of State to Governor, and his vacated seat went to the Democrats.  In West Virginia, although there had been no Republican candidate for Secretary in 2000, Betty Ireland beat the son of the decades long serving Democratic Secretary of State, Ken Hechler 

    In 2000, Republicans got 4,655,706 (45.17%) to the Democrats 5,255,063 (50.99%) and the independents 395,757 (3.56%).  In 2004, the Democrats over a million votes (1,168,388) to 6,423,451 (52.87%), a gain of 1.88%.  The Republicans gained 857,988  for a total of 5,513,694 (45.38%, a gain of 0.27%), and the independents, confirming trends from other races, fell to 211,923 (1.65%), a decline of 183,834 (-1.91%).

    Why would the independents migrate to the Democratic column in Secretary of State races when they went Republican in all other races in 2004?  Simply, because the Secretary of State runs the elections.  The odor of the 2000 stolen election was still fresh in everyone's nostrils in 2004.  So, while the independents and extra turnout went to the Republicans in the Presidential, Senate, House, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General races, it went Democratic in the Secretary of State races.

    Like the Attorney General races, Secretary of State had a high turnout, on the order of a United States Senate race.  In 2000, 7.31% of the voters skipped the Secretary of State race (because Joe Manchin, the Democratic congressman who was elected Governor in 2004, ran unopposed); while in 2004, only 5.64% of the voters did not cast ballots in the race.  Even though Deborah Markowitz, the Democratic Vermont Secretary of State ran unopposed in 2004, Vermont has half as many voters as West Virginia, so the drop-off in the Secretary of State races is closer to 5% when contested.

  Not surprisingly, Attorney General and Secretary of State, along with Lieutenant Governor, are traditional stepping stones to higher office, especially the Governor's mansion. The consistency is noteworthy.  The chief law enforcement officer and the chief election administrator are high, important offices.  When Christine Gregoire, the Democratic Attorney General, was elected Governor, the voters simultaneously elected a Republican to replace her.  In Missouri, when Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt was elected Governor, the voters elected a Democrat to replace him.  And in West Virginia, when Democratic Secretary of State and former Congressman Joe Manchin was elected Governor, he was replaced by a Republican.  This turning over of vacated offices to a different party is not just balance of powers, but a clear statement against nepotism and hereditary power.  Voters prefer that their office holders, even those they promote, not be able to pass on their office to a designated successor.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Secretary of State comparison spreadsheet


    In 2004, 17,597,022 votes were cast for Treasurer, up 2,774,005 (18.7%) over the 14,823,017 votes cast in 2000.  Democrats won 6 races and Republicans 2, the same as four years earlier.  The difference, and the reason for the greater increase in turnout, is that none of the Treasurer candidates ran unopposed, whereas in 2000, Democrat John Perdue in West Virginia and Republican Edward Alter in Utah had no major party opponent.

    Missouri changed the Treasurer from Democrat to Republican, meaning that with the sole exception of the incumbent Attorney General, Missouri changed the party of every top statewide elected official.  Pennsylvania also changed the party of the Treasurer, from Republican to Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.; son of the former Governor.  Other than these two, the party affiliation of the remaining six treasurers remained the same.

    As in the Secretary of State races, the Democrats gained and, like the rest of the election, the independents slipped.  The Republican vote for Treasurer rose 667,275 from 6,772,757 (45.69%) in 2000, to 7,440,032 (42.28%) in 2004.  The Democrats gained 2,190,465 more votes, going from 7,517,509 (50.71%) in the millennial year, to 9,707,974 (55.16%).  So, while the Republicans were losing 3.41% of the vote, the Democrats were gaining 4.45%.

    The independent vote fell from 532,751 (3.59%) to 449,016 (2.55%).  In 2000, 7.94% of the voters skipped the Treasurer races.  In 2004, because there were no unopposed, the blank ballot rate fell to 6.46%.  As the offices become less important, the total number of ballots cast for those offices declines.   

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Treasurer comparison spreadsheet


    With the auditors office the election pattern returns to normal, the Republicans gained in 2004.  Again, there is the political balance of powers where the voters tend to split party control in overlapping areas of government.  Seeing as the Democrats predominated in the Treasurers offices, then it makes sense for the Republicans to be strengthened in the auditors office.

    Party control of the Auditors office went from 6 to 2 Democrat to Republican  in 2000, the year Al Gore was being elected president by the voters, to a 4 to 4 split in 2004.

    Republican vote for Auditor rose 1,250,943 from 5,034,758 (43.34%) in 2000 to 6,285,701 (45.37%) in 2004, a gain of 2.03%.  Democrats gained 959,455 votes from 6,277,557 (54.03%) to 7,237,012 (52.23%) in 2004, a decline of 1.80%.  Independent auditor candidates gained 27,940, from 304,759 (2.62%) to 332,699 (2.40%), a decline of 0.22%.

    The percentage of voters who skipped the Auditor line shows a further decline from Treasurer.  In 2000, almost 10% (9.92%) did not vote for auditor.  In 2004, that number was 7.62%, 1.16% lower than Treasurer.  One reason for the large number of blank ballots in 2000 is that two of the auditors: Democrat Glenn Gainor III in West Virginia and Republican Austun Johnson in Utah ran without major party opposition.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Auditor comparison spreadsheet

Insurance Commissioner

    Four states elected Insurance Commissioners.  Democrats gained marginally, but it was enough to turn the 2-2 tie in 2000 with Republicans to a 3-1 tally for the Democrats in 2004.

    Republicans gained 369,311 votes to go from 2,462,973 (44.06%) in 2000, to 2,833,284 (43.21%) in 2004; a loss of 0.84%.  The Democrats went from 3,036,361 (54.29%) to 3,615,728 (55.15%), an increase of 579,367 (0.86%).  The independents gained 15,110 to go from 92,185 (1.65%) to 107,295 (1.64%), a decline of 0.01%.  Whew!  The independents have lost ground in every race, but in the Insurance races they split microscopically for the Democrats.

    On the turnout front, again, the voters who skipped the Insurance Commissioner races fell from 9.19% in 2000 to 8.01% in 2004.  Note that Insurance Commissioner had the highest number of blank ballots in 2004: Auditor had 7.62%, Treasurer 6.46%; Secretary of State 5.64% and Attorney General 5.94%.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Insurance Commissioner comparison spreadsheet

Superintendent of Public Instruction

    Only three states elected Superintendents of Public Instruction, but even though the Republicans beat the Democrats, and even gained between 2000 and 2004; the Democrats won two of the contests and the Republicans only one.  This is because the Republicans trounced the Democrats in Indiana, a large state, while the Democrats only eeked out a squeaker in North Carolina.

    The Republican vote for Superintendent of Public Instruction rose from 2,633,219 (50.30%) in 2000 to 3,151,134 (51.80%) in 2004.  Democrats gained 367,415 votes to rise from 2,496,908 (47.70%) to 2,864,323 (47.09%), a loss of 0.61%.  Independents, true to form, lost ground, both absolutely and relatively.  The independent vote fell from 104,674 (2.00%) to 67,419 (1.11%), a decline of 0.89%.  

    The Superintendent of Public Instruction is viewed in importance on a par with State Treasurer.  In 2000, 7.07% of the voters skipped Superintendent of Public Instruction, while in 2004, 6.71% did not cast ballots in the race.  

 Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Superintendent of Public Instruction comparison spreadsheet

Public Service, Public Utilities, Railroad and Corporation Commissioners

    Regulation of public utilities and corporations is usually handled jointly by the legislature and executive through legislation and quasi-independent appointed boards.  Electing commissioners to oversee utilities and corporations is a vestige of the past, but not completely extinct.  In 2004, four states elected commissioners: Georgia's Public Service Commissioner; South Dakota's Public Utilities Commissioner; Oklahoma's Corporation Commissioner; and Texas's Railroad Commissioner.  Republicans took all four offices which is not surprising seeing as they are four strong Republican southern states.  Democrats did win one seat in Georgia in 2000, when Al Gore was winning, but it was lost in 2004.

    Overall, the Republicans received 6,705,952 votes (56.83%) to the Democrats 4,730,206 (40.08%).  Independent candidates received 363,193 (3.07%).  Texas did not have a Railroad Commissioner race in 2000, so it is not possible to compare the 2004 results with four years earlier.  Omitting Texas, however, the Republican vote surged 910,412; from 50.45% in 2000, the Democratic year, to 58.84% in 2004, the Republican year.  The Democratic vote rose a paltry 143,273; causing the percentage to fall from 45.42% in the millennial year, to 38.83% in 2004.  Independents, true to form, lost both absolute numbers and relative position.  Independent candidate totals fell from 155,472 (4.12%) to 110,696 (2.31%), a decline of 44,776 or 1.81%.

    Regulation of utilities and corporations is dear to Republican hearts, the party of big and small business.  Given this bias and the four southern states, it is not surprising that the Republicans would win all four.  The fact that only 4.59% of the voters failed to cast ballots in the election for Public Service Commissioners shows that voters consider regulation of utilities and corporations to be important.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Utilities Commissioners comparison spreadsheet

Commissioner of Agriculture and Public Lands

    North Dakota and West Virginia elected Commissioners of Agriculture and Washington elected a Commissioner of Public Lands.  Democrats won the Commissioners of Agriculture and a Republican won the Commissioner of Public Lands.  Democrats beat Republicans by 100,117 out of 3,610,058 ballots cast for these offices.

    Republicans gained 434,030 to go from 1,276,852 (41.30%) in 2000 to 1,710,882 (47.39%) in 2004.  Democrats gained 122,328 taking them from 1,688,677 (54.62%) in 2000 to 1,811,005 (50.16%) in 2004, a loss of 4.46%.  Independent candidates again lost in both absolute and relative terms, going from 125,985 (4.07%) in 2000 to 88,171 in 2004, a loss of 37,814 (1.63%).  This pattern is consistent with the dominant pattern where Republicans gain, Democrats gain a little but lose relatively, and independents lose the most

    Voters consider the Commissioner of Agriculture and Public Lands even less significant than the other statewide offices.  Almost 11% (10.90%) of the voters skipped the races in 2000.  Partially this is because there was no Republican candidate in West Virginia.  But even with a fully contested slate in 2004, 9.05% declined to cast ballots in these elections.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Commissioner of Agriculture and Lands comparison spreadsheet

Labor and Tax Commissioner

    North Dakota elected a Tax Commissioner. Rick Clayburgh, the Republican, received 169,710 votes (61.88%) in 2000 and 206,772 (69.17%) four years later.  The Democratic vote fell from 104,551 (38.12%) to 92,171 (30.83%).  The number of voters who skipped the Tax Commissioner race fell from 6.16% in 2000  to 5.13% in 2004.  

    North Carolina elected a Commissioner of Labor.  The Republican, Cherie Berry, went from 1,379,417 votes (50.13%) in 2000 to 1,723,004 (52.09%) four years later.  Her Democratic opponents went from 1,372,165 (49.86%) to 1,584,488 (47.91%).  There were no independents in either race.  The number of voters who skipped the office when voting fell from 8.77% in 2000 to 6.90% in 2004.

    Clearly, voters consider tax issues more important than labor issues.

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state Labor and Tax Commissioner comparison spreadsheet

State Legislators

    Forty-three states elected more than 5,750 state legislators.  More than 1,100 state senators and 4,637 state representatives.  In addition, there were 25 non-partisan legislators from Nebraska's unicameral legislature.

State Senate

    In the state senate races, Republicans gained 16 seats, or 1.56% between 2000 and 2004.  The number of Republican state senators rose from 571 (50.71%) to 587 (52.27%).  Correspondingly, Democratic state senators lost 8 seats, falling from 544 (48.66%) to 536 (47.73%.)  In 2000, there were also 3 independent state senators.  Consistent with all other offices  in the 2004 election, independents lost ground in state senates as well. 

    In 2004, 33.48%, slightly more than one-third, of all state senators ran without a major party opponent, down from the 36.14% in 2000.  Republicans had 35.09% unopposed compared to 31.72% for the Democrats.  This was a decrease of 0.11% for the Republicans and 5.42% for the Democrats.  In other words, Democrats did not contest significantly more state senate races than they did in 2000, but the Republicans did make more of an effort to field candidates.

State Representatives

    In Assemblies, or state House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats were virtually tied in 2000.  Republicans had 2,318 state representatives and Democrats had 2,308, ten less.  There were 10 independent state representatives, so that meant that Republicans had exactly 50.00% and the Democrats had 49.78% of the 4,636 state representatives elected in 2000.

   Four years later, the Republicans had gained 61 seats to reach 2,379 (51.30%) and the Democrats had lost 60, falling to 2,248.(48.48%).  Again, the independents held 10 seats (0.22%).

    Well over one-third, more than 40% of the state representatives in 2000, ran without major party opponents.  This fell to 38.30%, still well over one-third, in the 2004 election.  Republicans had 36.95% unopposed, down 1.75% from the 38.70% unopposed in the 2000 election.  Democrats had 39.75% unopposed, down 2.35% from 42.07% in the millennial election.  Here again, the Republicans were slightly more aggressive in fielding candidates than the Democrats.

    Even in non-partisan, unicameral Nebraska, 13 of the 25 representatives, 52%, ran without opposition.  That is down slightly from 14 or 56% who were the only candidates on the ballot in 2000.  Even some of the independents had no opponent, 4 of the 10, or 40%; just like the major party candidates.  So, when it comes to not presenting voters with a choice, the independents and non-partisans are no different than the Repblicans and Democrats.  

Link to 2000 and 2004 state by state State Legislatures comparison spreadsheet


 Thirty-seven states asked voters to pass judgment on 159 questions.  A total of 409,021,286  votes were cast on these issues; 234,717,811 (57.39%) for the questions and 174,303,475 against.

Bear Hunting

 The most contentious issue was Referendum #2 in Maine to make it a crime to hunt bears with bait, traps or dogs except to protect property.  It lost 46.92% yes to 53.08% no on a 99.05% percentage of ballots cast, meaning that people in Maine considered this issue as important as president.  Another factor in the turnout may have been Referendum #1 which sought to limit property taxes to 1%.  It lost by almost 2 to 1, 37.21% yes to 62.89% no on another spectacularly high turnout of 98.54%.

    In Alaska, Measure 3 to prohibit bear feeding and baiting similarly lost with 43.26% voting yes to 56.74% voting no.  Only 4% of the voters did not cast ballots on this question.  Louisiana voted 81.03% to affirm every citizen's right to hunt, fish and trap, proving once again that hunting is a highly contentious issue in American politics.  Montana, too, supported by more than 4 to 1 (80.60% yes vote) Constitutional Amendment 41 that recognizes and affirms the heritage to harvest wild fish and game.

Definition of Marriage

    Eleven states asked voters whether marriage should be limited to a man and a woman.  All 11 said "Yes" from a low of 56.63% in Oregon to a high of 86.01% in Mississippi.  And voters turned out for this question.  Seven of the top 25 questions in turnout related to marriage.  However, between 15% and 30% of the "yes" voters on the marriage question did not vote for Bush for President.  Two states, Oregon and Michigan, which passed the marriage question by 56.63% and 58.62% respectively, voted for Kerry.  The other nine states went for Bush. 

    Although putting the marriage question on the ballot was considered by some to be a brilliant tactical move to benefit Bush, the race for president received more votes than the marriage question in every state.  Oregon, which Kerry carried, had the highest turnout for the marriage question, 98.07%.  That meant that 20,680 voters cast ballots for president but skipped the marriage question.  In Kentucky, which passed the marriage question by almost 3 to 1, almost 1 in 10 voters skipped the question altogether.  In other words, it was the war in Iraq and not the question of whether marriage should be limited to a man or a woman that determined the outcome of the 2004 presidential race.  Voters are not fools.  They can tell the difference between life and death issues, between questions of human survival and the theatrics of social relations.


    Alaska, Montana and Oregon all had questions about marijuana.  Oregon and Montana couched the question in terms of medical uses of the drug.  Alaska went for outright legalization. Montana's Constitutional Amendment #48 to allow medical use of marijuana was approved with 61.80% of the vote.  In Alaska and Oregon, however, the marijuana question was defeated, 44.25% and 42.69% respectively.  Marijuana, like marriage, is a highly contentious issue.  All three marijuana questions came in the top 20 issues and given that 6 of the top 20 were about marriage, that means that almost half of the top 20 issues were about marriage or marijuana, life-style issues.


    A perennial, important and popular issue, education made up 20 questions, or 1 in 8 of all questions.  Oklahoma approved a lottery for Education by 64.67% and an Education Lottery Trust Fund by 67.94%.  A Washington State initiative to levy a 1% sales tax for education was defeated, 40.01% yes to 59.99% no.  Nevada voted that the state must fund education before anything else by 56.64% yes, but narrowly defeated (48.53% yes to 51.49% no) a proposal to require per-pupil school expenditure to equal or exceed the national average.

    Washington decisively defeated a referendum to authorize public charter schools by 41.67% yes to 58.33% no.  South Dakota refused, by a 46.98% yes vote and 53.02% no vote, to provide food and transportation aid for sectarian schools. An Arkansas proposal to increase ad valorem taxes for schools by 3 mils was slaughtered 29.84% yes to 70.16% no.  Wyoming voted 55.78% yes to 44.22% no to eliminate the maximums on rebates from school districts whose assessed valuations are greater than the statewide average.

    Utah voted by a substantial margin 57.34% yes to 42.66% to let the state or schools acquire stock in companies in exchange for intellectual property rights.  In other words, if the state or university licenses inventions it has developed to private companies, the state and schools may accept stock in the company as payment for the rights. At the same time Utah was saying yes, Arizona was saying no by a narrow margin, 48.14% yes to 51.86% no to the same arrangement.

    North Carolina voted overwhelmingly 78% yes to 22% no that civil penalties should go to school districts on a per capita basis.  New Mexico approved three education related bonds: A public and academic libraries acquisition bond for $16,315,000; a full day kindergarten bond for $5,100,000; and a $94,892,000 higher education facilities bond; by margins of 58.52% yes, 63.38% yes and 58.75% yes respectively.

    Rhode Island approved five education related bonds: a $15 million bond for Regional Career & Technical Schools for high school level students; a $50 million higher education residence halls bond; a $14 million bond for the Pell Undersea Exploration Center at the University of Rhode Island; a $6.7 million bond for the Athletic Performance Center/Meade Stadium; and  a $50 million bond for the University of Rhode Island Center for Biotechnology and Life by margins of: 56.50% yes, 51.22% yes, 50.59% yes, 67.50% yes, and 57.84% yes respectively. 

    Arizona voted overwhelmingly, 62.09% yes, to add a public and charter school member to the board of higher education.

    Finally, and shockingly, Alabama barely failed to pass, with a 49.93% yes vote, a proposal to remove obsolete language from the state constitution that required racially segregated schools and stated that children had no right to an education.  The opponents of this measure argued that its repeal might be construed as stating that children then did have a right to an education, with all the financial obligations that implied.  Armed with this educational fig leaf, voters kept the segregationist language in the constitution.   

Sin Taxes

    Using tobacco and gambling are considered by some to be sins.  Sinful behavior is a fertile and easy area in which to raise revenue. There were twelve ballot questions dealing with tobacco and gambling.

    Montana increased tobacco taxes with a 63.32% yes vote, and Colorado did the same with a 61.38% yes vote.  Oklahoma also changed its tobacco tax, but because it was bundled with changes to the sales and income taxes, it passed with only 53.35% yes vote.  Alabama, however, refused, 46.90% yes to 53.10% no, to let Macon County tax alcohol and tobacco locally.

    Two-thirds of the sin issues dealt with gambling, especially on indian reservations.  Oklahoma passed a Model Tribal Gaming Compact providing for new types of gaming machines with a 59.47% yes vote.  A Washington State initiative to allow additional scratch ticket machines off reservations failed with a paltry 38.45% yes vote.  Californians slaughtered a proposal to permit non-tribal commercial gambling expansion by allowing off-reservation slot machines.  It lost 5 to 1, 16.22% yes to 83.78% no.  California also defeated by 3 to 1, 23.74% yes to 74.26% no, a proposition to require the Governor to renew tribal gaming compacts without any limits on the tribes. 

    Michigan voted to approve gambling via lottery games with a 58.26% yes vote, and Florida voted 50.83% yes to allow Miami-Dade and Broward counties to approve slot machines in betting parlors.  Nebraska failed to authorize games of chance at hotels and race tracks with a 47.22% yes vote and also narrowly thwarted, with a 48.86% yes vote, a proposal to allow for the regulation of games of chance by initiative.  Nebraska did, however, narrowly pass with 51.18% of the vote, a measure providing for gambling tax levies and a formula for distribution of the proceeds. 

   Minimum Wage

    Florida and Nevada both raised the minimum wage, by 71.25% yes and 68.39% yes respectively.

 Health and medical care

    There were twelve health related issues on the ballot.  Oregon and Wyoming narrowly declined, by 49.21% yes to 50.79% no in Oregon and 49.65% yes and 50.35% no in Wyoming, to limit non-economic damages in healthcare negligence and recklessness suits.  Wyoming did, however, vote 52.99% yes to 47.01% no, to require a Medical Review Panel arbitration before filing a lawsuit.  Nevada voted 59.38% yes to limit attorneys fees in medical malpractice and professional negligence suits.

    Florida overwhelmingly passed three healthcare related issues: Constitutional Amendment #7, patients right to know about adverse medical incidents; Constitutional Amendment #8, No more than three medical malpractices to practice in Florida; and Constitutional Amendment #3, Claimant receives 70% of first $250,000 and 90% of everything over $250,000 in malpractice suits. These amendments passed with 81.15% yes vote, 71.08% yes vote, and 63.61% yes vote respectively.

    Florida also passed, with a 64.67% yes vote, Constitutional Amendment #1 requiring parental notification of a minor's abortion.

    California, like Florida, had four health related questions: Proposition 72, requiring health care coverage for employees, which failed 49.22% yes to 50.78% no; Proposition 69 that levied a mental health expansion tax of 1% on incomes over $1 million, passed with 53.71% yes vote; Proposition 67 providing for Emergency Medical Services Funding by levying a 3% tax on phone service was soundly defeated by almost 3 to 1, 28.43% yes to 71.57% no; and Proposition 61 that provided $750 million for Children's Hospital projects passed with a healthy 58.26% yes vote.

    California also passed with 59.05% yes vote, a Stem Cell Research Funding Bond.


    Montana defeated Constitutional Amendment 47 by a 41.96% yes to 58.02% no vote to allow cyanide leach processing at Open-Pit gold and silver mines.  At the same time, it passed by more than 3 to 1, (75.51% yes to 24.49% no) Constitutional Amendment 40 to create a noxious weed management trust fund.

    Oregon defeated, 38.34% yes to 61.66% no, Measure 34 that would have required balancing timber production and resource conservation in state forests. Colorado voted 53.61% yes to require some utilities to use renewable energy.  Washington, by better than 2 to 1, voted 69.09% yes to require cleanup of radioactive waste before more can be added to the site.

    Utah defeated 45.11% yes to 54.89% no a proposal for natural beauty preservation bonds to be paid for with a sales tax. Rhode Island, however, overwhelmingly passed a $70 million open space bond with a 70.78% yes to 29.22% no vote.

    Arizona narrowly defeated with a 47.83% yes vote a proposal to permit a land exchange for a military airport or conservation purposes.  Rhode Island voted by better than 2 to 1 (67.69% yes) for an emergency interconnect among water systems.  And Louisiana voted overwhelmingly (78.04% yes) to allow a homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for woodlands.


    By almost 5 to 1, (84.09% yes) Oklahoma voters supported an injured veteran homestead exemption for 100% disability. It also voted by better than 2 to 1 (68.93% yes) to change the formula for homestead tax exemption to over 65 years of age with an income lower than the median of the area.

    South Dakota declined, by more than 2 to 1 (32.90% yes to 67.10% no) to eliminate sales tax on food.  

    Oregon had three tax related questions on the ballot: Measure 37 that requires the government to pay owners when land use laws reduce the value of the property (passed with 60.62% yes vote); Measure 32 that deletes reference to mobile homes from taxes and fees on motor vehicles (passed with 61.30% yes vote); however, voters defeated Measure 38 by a 39.27% yes vote to 60.73% no vote that would have sold the state worker's compensation fund and used the proceeds for public purposes.

    Missouri overwhelmingly passed (78.87%) Amendment 3 that provides that gas and transport taxes must be used for roads.  California voted by more than 4 to 1 (83.64% yes) that local property and sales taxes stay at the local level.

    New Mexico voted by 68.06% yes to expand the veterans property tax exemption to all veterans, not just those from wartime.   By an almost equal amount, 67.68% yes, West Virginia approved a Veterans Bonus Amendment. Minnesota voted 64.33% yes for a Persian Gulf War Veteran Bonus.   

    South Carolina defeated (39.01% yes to 60.59% no) a proposal to allow 4% property tax assessment for agribusinesses with more than ten stockholders.  Indiana overwhelmingly passed Public Question #1 (70.83% yes vote) to allow primary residence, inventory and income producing property to be tax exempt. Alabama declined (44.76% yes to 55.24% no) to allow Trussville to annex certain property and tax it.  Nevada voted 59.38% to revise sale and use taxes for used vehicles, ocular devices, farm machinery, race cars, fine art for public display and aircraft and parts.

    It is evident from both the sin taxes and the regular taxes that although voters support keeping locally levied tax proceeds at the local level, they generally do not favor devolving the taxing power to local entities.

Election Practices

    By better than 2 to 1, (31.40% yes, 68.60% no) Montanans refuse to extend term limits to 12 years.  Arkansas, by an almost identical 29.90% yes to 70.10% no vote, also refused to extend term limits to longer service.  

    Washington state voted 59.85% for open primaries.  California, by 46.17% yes to 53.83% no, voted against open primaries where only the top two candidates advance to the General Election.  At the same time, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 60 (67.51% yes) that the primary candidate receiving the most votes advances to the General Election.  

    Colorado decisively trounced, 34.78% yes to 65.22% no, a proposal for proportional allotment of presidential electors.  Nevada, essentially housekeeping,  repealed legislative election of United States Senators and changing "idiot or insane" to "mentally incompetent" 54.34% yes to 45.66.

    Nebraska voted 54.82% yes that the legislature may not repeal initiative laws except by a 2/3rds vote.  South Dakota decisively refused to allow gubernatorial appointment and retention election of judges, as opposed direct election, 37.82% yes to 62.18% no.

    Oregon voted almost 2 to 1, 65.62% yes, to permit the postponement of elections when a candidate dies.  New Mexico voted decisively, (66.12% yes) to permit municipalities to hold runoff elections.   Arizona voted 55.64% yes for requiring proof of identity (as if having to sign one's name twice was not enough) and citizenship in order to vote and receive benefits.  

    Alaska voted 51.66% yes for initiative and referendum petitions to come from 30 districts and contain 7% of the vote.  Florida voted by better than 2 to 1, 68.44% yes, that constitutional amendments must be filed by February 1 and validated by April 1; while Arizona rejected by more than 2 to 1, (31.86% yes to 68.14% no) Proposition 104 that requires initiatives to be filed 7 months before the election instead of 4.

    Arizona voted 55.20% yes that expenditures required by initiative or referendum must have a funding source.  Indiana voted by better than 5 to 1, (86.65% yes) to clarify which state officials act as Governor when the Governor's and Lieutenant Governor's offices fall vacant.  Virginia also voted 59.88% yes to define gubernatorial succession, provide for more officials who can fill the office, and provide for interims if the legislature can not meet.  Alaska voted 55.59% yes to require a special election to fill a United States Senate vacancy.  Hawaii voted 79.42% to give the reapportionment commission the duty to maintain staggered State Senate terms.

    Rhode Island voted better than 3 to 1, 78.32% yes, for separation of powers, prohibiting Senators and Representatives from holding more than one office.  Minnesota voted better than 7 to 1, (88.05% yes) to provide for recall of elected state officials.  And Wisconsin voted by a solid 61.99% yes to extend the right to vote to adult children of United States citizens living overseas. 

     Damage Limitation in Lawsuits

    Nevada voted against penalizing lawyers for frivolous suits and prohibiting changes to limit on recovery of monetary damages by 37.18% yes and 62.82% no.  Colorado voted down by an even greater margin, 23.45% yes to 76.35% no, a prohibition on limits on construction suit damages.

    California voted to allow class action suits only if actual loss is suffered by a hefty 58.94% yes vote.


    By a narrow margin, 47.32% yes to 52.68% no, California refused to limit the three strikes law to a serious felony on the third strike.  But California did vote by a hefty 62.05% yes vote for the mandatory collection of DNA samples, creation of a database and funding.

    Californians were tough on crime, but there were surprisingly few crime related questions among the 159 on the ballot, in contrast to previous years when crime questions were rife.


    Florida voted 63.72% yes to repeal the High Speed Rail amendment.  Rhode Island passed with a 66.48% yes vote, a hair shy of 2 to 1, a $66,520,000 bond for roads, highways, bridges, and buses.

Economic Development

    Economic development did well in the 2004 elections.  Alabama voted 55.47% yes to authorize a county commission of any county or any municipality therein to perform certain actions for the purpose of economic and industrial development in the county.  It also voted 55.73% yes for economic and industrial development powers for Baldwin County.  Wyoming voted 66.16% to let the legislature force local government to use local revenues for economic development, subject to vote

    Arkansas voted 63.66% yes to approve general obligation bonds for economic development.  By a far narrower margin, 51.28% yes, North Carolina allowed local governments to issue bonds for private development.  Rhode Island voted 57.34% yes for a $48 million Quonset Point/Davisville economic development bond.  

    Louisiana voted 67.14% to provide funds for the support of Louisiana farmers and fishermen.  And Alabama voted 62.96% yes to promote shrimp and seafood.  

Miscellaneous Expenditures

    New Mexico voted a $6,063,000 senior facilities bond by a 62.77% yes, 38.23% no vote.  Rhode Island passed a $3 million historic preservation and heritage bond by 56.0% yes, 44.0% no.  Rhode Island also passed by 66.31% yes a $12.3 million Cranston Street Armory refurbishment for state offices bond, plus a $46.5 million state owned facilities bond by a 53.26% yes vote. 

Government Procedures

    Candidates in contested races generate the highest turnout.  Then come lifestyle issues, financial issues, and finally, bringing up the rear, are the government procedures.

    Oklahoma voted 63.09% yes to change the formula for the Rainy Day Fund.  It also narrowly voted 51.28% yes to permit pledging certain taxes and fees beyond the current fiscal year.     

    Nevada declined by 34.74% yes to 65.26% no to allow state regulation of insurance rates and practices. Georgia gave its Supreme Court the power to answer questions of law by 68.97% yes to 31.03% no.  

    Utah put explicit impeachment authority in its constitution by 69.28% yes to 30.72% no, better than 2 to 1. 

    Arizona declined, by a 39.39% yes to 60.61% no vote, to allow local phone companies to set their own rates.  South Carolina allowed, by a 59.21% yes vote, the legislature to set the size of liquor containers for by the drink sales.

    Californians agreed, by almost 3 to 1, 73.23% yes, that sale of surplus property must be used to pay down debt.

    Colorado voted 69% yes to eliminate obsolete constitutional provisions.  New Mexico voted 71.08% yes to change "visually handicapped" to "blind and visually impared." Coloradans refused, 39.18% yes to 60.82% no, to overhaul the state personnel system.  

    Californians refused by an even larger margin, 37.61% yes to 62.39% no, to reduce the legislature's authority over local government funds.

    North Carolina voted 68.02% yes to change magistrates terms to an initial two-year term followed by four-year terms.  Arizona voted 53.89% yes that justices of peace pro-tem must have the same qualifications as justice, except for residency.  New Hampshire voted 56.87% yes for the legislature to be co-equal with courts in setting judicial rules.  And Alabama, by 44.71% yes vote and 55.39% no vote, refused to repeal equal pay for probate and district court judges.

    Hawaii voted by more than 3 to 1, 77.72% yes, to allow the University of Hawaii to exercise self-governance in internal matters.  It refused however, 38.47% yes to 61.53% no, to permit the Tax Review Commission to be appointed every 10 years instead of 5.

    Louisiana voted 80.84% yes for eligibility for preference points for veterans in civil service and state police hiring.  Virginia voted 83.49% for legislators to continue representing their original districts after reapportionment.  Rhode Island voted by a narrow 51.97% yes vote for a constitutional convention to amend or revise the constitution.

    Indiana voted 86.44% yes for a uniform starting date for county offices.     

Link to 2004 state by state Questions spreadsheet

Links to State By State comparison of 2004 and 2000 Election Results

Alabama Indiana Nebraska South Carolina
Alaska Iowa Nevada South Dakota
Arizona Kansas New Hampshire Tennessee
Arkansas Kentucky New Jersey Texas
California Louisiana New Mexico Utah
Colorado Maine New York Vermont
Connecticut Maryland North Dakota Virginia
Delaware Massachusetts North Carolina Washington State
Florida Michigan Ohio Washington D.C.
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma West Virginia
Hawaii Mississippi Oregon Wisconsin
Idaho Missouri Pennsylvania Wyoming
Illinois Montana Rhode Island

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf