HARRISBURG, PA (WSKG) — Turnout in Tuesday’s midterm election is expected to be unusually high.
Based on early indicators, some election officials have said they’re prepared for returns that fall between a normal midterm year and a presidential election.
Pennsylvania doesn’t have early voting, so the best way officials can get a sense of turnout is by looking at absentee ballot returns.
Randall Wenger, who directs Lancaster County’s elections, said they’ve seen substantially more absentee ballots voted than were even requested in the 2010 and 2014 midterms–and processing those and new voter registrations took more work than he expected.
“My staff worked a lot of extra overtime. We called upon two temp agencies for additional staff,” he said.
He noted, “That’s flexibility we have, and we didn’t utilize it as much as we would in a presidential election year. But we did utilize more of it than we thought we would.”
The situation is similar all over. Small, rural Fulton County gets comparatively fewer voters, but Election Director Karen Hann-McFadden said it’s still busier than usual this year.
She said significantly more voters have registered than in other midterm years, and 169 absentee ballots have been returned–up from 82 in 2014.
Pennsylvania’s governor and Democratic US Senator are both running for reelection this year. There’s also a slate of competitive congressional races, plus close state House and Senate contests.
Democrats are banking on significant gains across the board.