Profile America —Tuesday, April 8th. On this date 101 years ago, the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified establishing direct popular election of senators. Previously, members of the Senate were elected by each state's legislature. As the voting franchise expanded after the Civil War and into the Progressive Era, growing sentiment held that senators ought to be popularly elected in the same manner as representatives. In fact, because of such developments, at least 29 states by 1913 were nominating senators on a popular basis for the legislatures to approve. In the Presidential election of 2012, just under 62 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. This contrasts with the Presidential election in 2008, when not quite 64 percent voted. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/p20/2012/tables.html Table 2 All Races
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/historical/index.html Table A-2