Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Editorials

A remarkable turnout

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It will take a while to absorb the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections in the United States. But one thing is for sure – American voters are fired up.

Just four years after the 2014 midterms saw the lowest voter turnout since 1942, a massive early turnout has made 2018 look like it will be a historic year for turnout.

According to reports, more than 38 million people voted early in this year’s election. That’s nearly double the early turnout in 2014. A number of states — including Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas — have reported receiving a record number of absentee and provisional ballots, as well.

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Midterm years are generally notorious for low voter turnouts. Conventional wisdom is that only the most engaged citizens drag themselves to the polls for a midterm election. But early estimates of voter turnout this year indicate participation more on the order of a presidential election than a midterm.

Much analysis of this turnout increase has been and will be written.

But what is important is that the American people are engaged in the democratic process.

In 2014, just over 36 percent of registered voters turned out to the polls. This is embarrassing and ultimately corrosive.

So, amid our seemingly endless discord, it is a sign of hope when so many people — young, old, black, white, Democrat, Republican — go to the polls and cast their ballots and affirm their citizenship.

The United States should strive for a system that encourages as much voting as possible, with as many choices as possible. More choice — of party, policy and personality — should equal more participation. And voting is only the first level of participation.

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