Methodology and Notes
General Results: All election results provided in the 2008 edition of Dubious Democracy are those that have been verified and certified by Secretaries of State and Election Commissions in every state, and are provided by the U.S House of Representatives Office of the Clerk.
High/Low % Voter Turnout: Since 2002, the methodology for calculating voter turnout has changed. In the past, FairVote calculated voter turnout by using the percentage found from dividing the total votes cast by the total voting age population (VAP) in each Congressional district. We then contrasted the district with the highest voter turnout and the district with the lowest voter turnout. However, beginning with the 2002 release of Dubious Democracy, FairVote started measuring voter turnout using the statewide total voting eligible population (VEP), which is calculated by dividing the total votes cast by the total voting eligible population for a given state. The VEP is obtained by subtracting from the VAP all non-citizens, prisoners, ex-felons, overseas voters, and/or any other classes of people that may be restricted or prohibited from voting under a particular state's statutes and regulations. Since the VEP looks at the state aggregate and not individual districts, our data sets no longer distinguish between districts with the highest and lowest voter turnout. The VEP statistics were developed by Prof. Michael McDonald of George Mason University. For more information about VEP and voter turnout, please see his work.
Uncontested Elections: Candidates in uncontested US House races in Arkansas (district 1), Florida (districts 3 and 17) and Louisiana (districts 3 and 5) were not listed on the ballot, so voters were not able to cast votes for them. A vote total of 1 was used to signify the incumbent for such uncontested races.
Connecticut: Connecticut allows fusion voting, meaning that candidates can represent more than one party (for instance, John B. Larson, running in District 1 represented both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party). In this report, all votes for a candidate representing a major party (including those cast in the name of a third party) are counted towards that major party's vote total.
Louisiana: In Louisiana, primary elections were held on November 4, 2008 for the 2nd and 4th districts. The general election for these two districts was held on December 6, 2008. For both districts, the December general election numbers are used in all calculations, except for calculating turnout and drop-off ("Data by State" spreadsheet, columns R, AE and AG), where the primary turnout figures are used. Louisiana primary election results are available at the Louisiana Secretary of State's website.
New York: New York allows fusion voting, meaning that candidates can represent more than one party (for instance, Lee M. Zeldin, running in District 1 represented both the Republican Party and the Conservative Party). In this report, all votes for a candidate representing a major party (including those cast in the name of a third party) are counted towards that major party's vote total.
Washington: Washington has a primary system in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the General Election. This can lead to situations in which two candidates from the same party are running against each other in the general election (though this did not happen in any Congressional races in 2008).