2022 elections come down to turnout

Posted on November 2, 2022

The 2022 elections will be decided by voter turnout, just like the elections of 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2021. The polls suggest that the battle for control of the U.S. Senate is razor-close, and the same is true in many elections for U.S. House, governor, state legislature and more.

We don’t know how it will turn out, but we do know that 2022 is likely to be the highest-turnout midterm election in one-hundred years or more.

In presidential general elections, voter turnout hit its lowest point in the 1996 election when only 49 percent of the voting age population and only 51.7 percent of citizens eligible to vote actually cast a ballot. Those numbers rose pretty dramatically during the 2004 to 2016 elections, but then, turnout hit record rates in 2020, when 62 percent of the voting age population and 67 percent of citizens eligible to vote cast ballots.

Year after year, midterms have lower voter turnouts than presidential elections. But in 2018, 53.4 percent of the voting age population cast ballots, compared to only 41.9 percent in 2014. In fact, the midterm turnout in 2018 was higher than any year since 1914.

So, how about 2022? Analysts say it is looking like another 2018. Among states that record party registration, 45 percent of early voters were Democrats compared to 33 percent for Republicans. But that data can certainly change in the final week.

Here’s the interesting thing. This record or near-record turnout is happening despite the fact that conservatives made it harder to vote after the 2020 election.

Eleven states imposed stricter voter identification requirements since 2020: AR, AZ, FL, GA, MO, MT, NH, OK, TX, SC and WY. Georgia enacted one of the most anti-voter laws and, yet, early voting in Georgia is tremendous. Nineteen states, since 2020, have made it harder to vote by mail: AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, ID, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, OK, MO, MT, NJ, NY, SC, TX and UT. Yet, mail-in ballots are through the roof. And seven states made it easier to knock individuals off the registered voter list: AZ, FL, GA, IA, KS, PA and TX.

It seems that Americans are pushing back and trying very hard to vote this year.