Voter turnout is typically quite low in nonpresidential elections, but this year saw record levels of early voter turnout. Over 40 million Americans are expected to have voted early in the 2018 midterm elections, a stunning 45% increase over the 22 million who early voted in 2014.
Multiple states have shattered their previous records for early-voter turnout, leading experts to project that this year’s midterm elections could have the highest turnout in a nonpresidential year in at least 52 years.
In the 2014 midterms, just 36% of eligible voters voted.
Michael McDonald, the director of the University of Florida Elections Project, told CBS that the rates of early voting suggest voter turnout could reach between 45% and 50% this year. For comparison, voter turnout was 60% in 2016.
In 27 states, the total number of early ballots cast was greater the total number cast in the 2014 midterms, with the biggest leaps in turnout rates occurring in Florida, Texas, and Georgia, which set a historical record for the highest-ever early voter turnout in a midterm election.
Voter turnout especially spiked among young voters under 30, a historically unreliable voting bloc. 2018 youth voter turnout exceeds 2014 level s in at least 12 states,with those rates doubling in Texas, Nevada, New Jersey, and Georgia.