TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– Over 40,000 voters in Tompkins County made their voice heard at the polls on Election Day and beforehand, though the overall turnout did not match the high voter participation seen across the country.

Finding the overall turnout takes some math, as overall votes won’t be finalized for a few weeks. However, the Tompkins County Board of Elections shows 31,072 ballots counted during early voting and on Election Day, and has previously said that about 11,600 absentee ballots were submitted. Roughly, the total numbers show 42,672 voters participating in the 2020 election. Out of a total of 58,626 registered voters, again according to the county BOE as of Oct. 20, 2020, that equals about 72.7 percent voter turnout in Tompkins County.

Notably, there are about 4,000 more registered voters in Tompkins County than there were in the last presidential election in 2016.

Both former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are now projected to receive more votes in the popular vote than any other candidates in previous presidential elections among nationwide voters, showing higher voter turnout in 2020, at least in raw voting numbers, than ever before.

Those numbers are relatively in line with previous presidential voter turnout figures, but do not show the higher turnout seen elsewhere across the country. In 2016, when Hillary Clinton faced current President Donald Trump, the Board of Elections showed that 43,008 people voted at the polls, well before New York State implemented early voting. That translates to 78 percent of registered Tompkins County voters at that time. Before that, in 2012, 39,913 people showed up to vote as then-incumbent Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney, equaling 76 percent.

Predictably, participation in the mid-term elections in 2014 and 2018 was lower than in any of the general elections mentioned above, at 53 percent in 2014 and 68 percent in the more contentious 2018 mid-terms.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at