The November midterm elections are less than a week away and millions of voters nationwide have already cast their ballots.
In Pennsylvania, voters on Tuesday will elect a governor, lieutenant governor, and one US Senator. They will also elect the state’s 17 congressional representatives in the US House, 25 of its 50 state senators, and all 203 of its state House members.
As Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that can really go either way when it comes to elections, all eyes are on the commonwealth, particularly in the US House and Senate races, which could alter the balance of power in Washington, D.C.
So, where do Pennsylvania’s voting totals stand as of right now?
As of Thursday, nearly 963,000 mail-in ballots have already been returned in the state, according to data provided by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. Of these ballots, 682,765 are from registered Democrats, 196,898 are from registered Republicans, and 82,893 are from voters not affiliated with the two major parties.
It’s important to note that these numbers do not represent actual votes, just the party registration statistics.
When broken down by age, seniors—or those over the age of 65—have submitted the most ballots so far, at 507,149, or 52.7%. From there, the number of votes descends by age group. Those ages 41 to 65 have submitted 313,901 ballots so far, 26 to 40-year-olds have submitted 96,373, and 18 to 25-year-olds have submitted 45,339.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, this is a decrease from 2020, when voting by mail—which became much more convenient and accessible due to the signing of Act 77 in 2019—was a necessity for many due to the pandemic. Less than a week out from the midterm elections, about half as many voters have requested mail-in ballots. Around this point in the 2020 general election, 2.8 million people had requested mail ballots, compared to 1.4 million this year.
This isn’t entirely surprising. Voter turnout for midterms is historically lower than in presidential races, but it is a significant difference from just two years ago. And that 1.4 million is still a huge increase from the 2018 midterms, where the mail ballots were in the 200K range.
The Inquirer also notes that before 2020, there was little partisan divide between who did and did not vote by mail. That all changed when then-President Donald Trump began spreading the lie that mail voting is “rife with fraud.” In some states prior to 2020, Republicans were actually more likely to vote by mail, but by the fall of 2020, registered Republicans made up about a quarter of Pennsylvania’s mail ballot requests.
Republicans who request these ballots are also less likely than registered Democrats to return them, and the Republicans who did cast their ballots in this manner were less likely to vote for Trump. This suggests that Republican mail voters are generally more likely to be open to voting for Democrats than in-person Republican voters.
So far this year, the Inquirer found that Democrats are more likely to both request and cast their mail ballots than Republicans, and if trends from two years ago suggest anything, it’s that this year’s Democratic candidates can expect to receive at least some Republican mail votes.
Regardless of where the numbers stand right now, if past elections have taught us anything, things can change drastically between now and Election Day.
Voters have multiple options available to them to cast their ballots at this point, including voting by mail, or voting in person on Election Day at the polls, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Looking for more information on voting in Pennsylvania? Click here.
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