Early voter turnout on pace to nearly match 2016 presidential election
Early voting levels in Madison thus far look to be at record-breaking levels for a midterm election, as its availability comes to an end this Friday.Image By: Téalin Robinson
As the midterm election approaches, Madison early voter turnout is on track to match turnout from the 2016 presidential election, according to data collected by the city clerk’s office.
As Republican Gov. Scott Walker runs for a third term against Democratic challenger Tony Evers, polls show a coin-flip race that could largely hinge on turnout.
Usually, midterm elections come with a substantial decrease in voter turnout, but that has not been the case this year.
“Turnout is looking really strong on campus, especially for a midterm election,” NextGen Wisconsin Media Director Sean Manning said. “Early voting is a really good way to measure enthusiasm of voters, and we can see that students on campus are insanely excited to vote this year.”
Early voter turnout for this midterm election tracked in at 21,222 as of Oct. 29, which is greater than early voter turnout during Obama’s 2012 presidential election, which totalled 18,752 people, even without the last several days of early voting, which generally have a much larger level of turnout.
Though 2014 had only 10 days of early voting, the early votes per day in this cycle are significantly higher, at just over 1,414 thus far compared to 860 in 2014.
Almost half of all early voting in 2016 came in the final week of its availability. Factoring in the same rate of increased early voting turnout, the final numbers could come just short of those from the last presidential election.
As the age group with the consistently lowest voter turnout, much of the effect of improved turnout levels has been placed on how much young people show up to vote.
“Over the past year we’ve seen unprecedented activism from our generation, whether it’s the March for Our Lives or movements in the state like at [UW] Stevens Point with their protests to the reduction of humanities,” Manning said. “We’re just seeing young people rising up all across Wisconsin.”
This year, the Madison community has cast their ballots at 16 voting locations on campus and around the city.
Students and Madisonians can cast their ballots at Memorial Union, Union South or the SAC, as well as the city clerk’s office and libraries around the city.
“We’ve seen students march through the streets, and now we finally have the chance to march to the polls and hold our leaders accountable,” Manning said.
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