The 2016 U.S. presidential election failed to interest many military voters, a recently released federal study has found. Voting rates dropped from 58 percent in 2012 to just 46 percent in 2016 among servicemembers, says the Federal Voting Assistance Program report, released earlier this month. “A striking finding from our analyses is the reported drop in participation rate among military personnel in the 2016 election as compared to the general population,” FVAP program director David Beirne said in a report to Congress. “The data shows that more military members cited motivation-related reasons for not voting and were less interested in the election in 2016 than in 2012,” he added.
The FVAP report estimates that 75 percent of the civilian population voted, though that figure is much higher than most estimates, including a Census Bureau survey showing that 61.4 percent of registered voters reported voting.
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the United States Elections Project website, estimates that about 58 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in 2016, compared with 58.6 percent in 2012.