The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest since WWII

Midterm voter turnout continued a decades-long decline in 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

General election voter turnout for the 2014 midterms was the lowest it's been in any election cycle since World War II, according to early projections by the United States Election Project.

Just 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population cast ballots as of last Tuesday, continuing a steady decline in midterm voter participation that has spanned several decades. The results are dismal, but not surprising -- participation has been dropping since the 1964 election, when voter turnout was at nearly 49 percent.

The last time voter turnout was so low during a midterm cycle was in 1942, when only 33.9 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

Voter turnout during presidential elections is, as a rule, significantly higher. More than 58 percent of eligible voters submitted ballots in 2012 and nearly 62 percent did so in 2008. By contrast, only 41 percent of eligible voters voted in 2010 and 40.4 percent in 2006.

This year, Maine boasted the highest turnout in the nation, with 59 percent of the eligible population submitting their votes. Indiana had the lowest turnout rate, with just 28 percent of eligible voters participating.