Numbers suggest mail-in, and early voting is here to stay
A record number of Americans voted before Election Day in 2022, or mailed in their ballots.
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In 2022, mail-in and early voting surpassed previous election years, showing that it is not the partisan issue that Donald Trump and Republicans have claimed it to be. Numbers suggest that before 2020, early voting specifically, was on an upward trend for more than two decades before the former president politicized the issue.
According to the U.S. Census, Election Day voting since 1996 has dramatically decreased with early and mail-in voting increasing significantly leading up to the most recent 2022 midterms.
The 2022 midterms proved to be a comeback year, as it surpassed 2018’s numbers. According to NBC News, who have been tracking early voting and mail-in ballots, more than 47 million Americans across the country voted before Election Day.
NBC News along with the United States Elections Project, released their own figures.
According to figures, in the 2016 and 2018 elections, about three-fifths of voters across the country voted on Election Day. As new figures would reveal, early voting and mail-in ballots have been quietly increased with each election cycle, further proving that despite legal challenges and criticisms from the GOP, it will not simply go away anytime soon, no matter how much they want it to.
In the numbers released from the U.S. Elections Project, nearly 47 million total Americans opted for early voting in 2022, whether it was in-person at the polls or mail-in ballots. Out of the almost 47 million votes cast, around 20 million did so at the polls while more than 25 million did through mail. A whopping 58 million mail-in ballots were requested.
In Pennsylvania, nearly a million and a half people voted early, with more than 500,000 of those being from people over the age of 65. Over 819,000 people (69%) of those votes were for Democrats compared to roughly 252,000 (21%) for Republicans.
Also in the Elections Project figures, only four states reported on early and mail-in voting by race and ethnicity, which were Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. White voters accounted for over 3 million (64%) with Black voters making up 1.2 million (24%) and Latinos at a mere 81,000 (1.6%).
By gender, in Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina where it was reported, females preferred early and mail-in voting with 4,680,220 (54%) compared to
3,863,584 (44.6%) for men. As far as the numbers for each party, 24 states including Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania reported that over 10 million (42%) were for Democrats while Republicans accounted for over 8 million (39 %) with the rest being for none or minor parties.
“I think that after all is said and done, we’re probably looking at 45% of the vote or so that was cast before the election,” said Michael McDonald, a political scientist and election specialist at the University of Florida and head of the Elections Project study. “Early voting has been expanding.”
2022 turnout numbers are noticeably high for a midterm election as traditionally midterms have lower voter turnouts in comparison to bigger elections like the presidential elections according to McDonald. In 2018, that midterm saw the highest turnout in U.S. history. In the recent 2022 midterms, states like Georgia are on track to break 2018 records.
Voter turnout in midterm elections since the 1990s has been steadily around 20% for young voters. That number grew in 2018 and continued into 2022. An overwhelming number of younger voters voted Democrat in the 2022 midterms. They nearly matched the rates to that of in 2020.
The Edison Research National Election Pool exit poll found 63% of young voters opted for Democrats in the House of Representatives race in comparison to 35% for Republicans. Those between the ages 30 and 44 split their votes in regards to party allegiances and older voters opted for Republicans. Young people of color are also likely to vote for Democrats compared to White youth who are usually more split.
Black youth at 89% were the highest voter minority group that voted for Democrats in these midterms. Out of the nearly 8.3 million newly eligible young voters in these elections, around 3.8 million of them are colored. This includes 2 million Latinos, 1.2 million Black youth, 500,000 Asians, and 80,000 Native Americans.