High voter turnout expected for midterm election Tuesday

Local elections officials preparing for surge in voter turnout

PITTSBURGH — The midterm election is Tuesday and there are several key races in Pennsylvania.

There are four candidates running in the gubernatorial election:

Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate seat is also up for grabs. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is trying to win a third term, running against Republican Lou Barletta and Libertarian Dale Kerns.

Just as with any election, the outcome will be impacted by voter turnout. While midterm elections usually don’t see a high voter turnout, political experts believe this time will be different.


Allegheny County’s Acting Election Division Manager David Voye predicted a little more than 50 percent voter turnout -- up from previous midterms but significantly smaller than a presidential election.

Voye said the county has received 16,000 new voter registrations since the primary, a significant jump from four years ago.

So far, 27,000 absentee ballots have been processed. During the last midterm in 2014, the county received only 10,000 absentee ballots.

"I think the average for the last three midterms has been around 48 percent," Voye said.

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“I think things are great. I don’t think we’ve seen these kinds of results in a long, long time,” said D. Raja, Republican Committee Chairman of Allegheny County. "Being a grassroots organization, I see a lot of energy there."

“With President (Donald) Trump being so erratic, he’s up and down, and I think people are just fed up with it,” said Eileen Kelly, Allegheny County Democratic Committee chairwoman. “No matter where I go, people are asking me and saying they’re excited to go out and vote.”

They're seeing enthusiasm, too, as both committees tell Channel 11 more people have wanted to volunteer.

MID-TERM ELECTION VOTING: Many expect a high voter turnout for Tuesday’s mid-term election. Are you voting?! https://on.wpxi.com/2PHtDbh

Posted by Lindsay Ward on Sunday, November 4, 2018

“The phones ... I’ve had so many people calling me, wanting to volunteer more so than I’ve ever known," Kelly said.

Inside Allegheny County's Election Division headquarters downtown, the phones have not stopped ringing, either.

"They've been crazy for the last couple of weeks, constant phone calls. It's more like a presidential than a midterm," Voye said.

The early numbers suggest Tuesday could be a busy election, at least in Allegheny County.

“The volunteers have knocked on more than 450,000 doors, so these are volunteers who are energized," Raja said.

The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Tuesday.