As statistics show, the United States has never had high voter turnout. Where local elections are concerned, the problem is even worse, possibly due in part to the meager coverage these elections get on local television news and in hometown newspapers.
Luckily, the Internet has made getting information on candidates and ballot initiatives much easier. In many states, like Utah, you can even get voter registration forms online.
Below is a state-by-state listing of voter information just click on your state or use the pull-down menu. At minimum you'll find a list of candidates, ballot initiatives, registration rules and voting day information. But most Web sites have much more. The Michigan Board of Elections site can tell you if you're registered. New York, among others, tells you how much money each candidate raised, and from whom. Washington state offers printable voter guides in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Russian designed by high school students.
The figures below were collected by the Federal Election Commission for the midterm election of 1998 and the last presidential election in 2000. They represent the percentage of the total voting age population (VAP) that went to the polls. The United States has very high rate of voter registration, averaging 70.6%. Turnout figures are nowhere near as high.
% of voting age population (VAP) voting in last midterm election (1998) = 36.4%
% of voting age population (VAP) voting in last presidential election (2000) = 51.3%