The 2018 midterms will be remembered as a landmark election, with more than half of eligible voters showing up to cast ballots. According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, the voter turnout rate was the highest in 30 years for a midterm election. The report, which was released on Wednesday (May 1), found that the increase in voter turnout was particularly high in Latinx and Asian communities.
As Colorlines previously reported, the 2018 midterms were plagued by widespread reports of voter suppression and corruption. For example, in Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp, who ran against Stacey Abrams in the state’s gubernatorial race, was, according to Vox, accused of putting “53,000 voter registrations on hold, nearly 70 percent of which are for Black voters, by using an error-prone ‘exact match’ system, which stops voter registrations if there are any discrepancies, down to dropped hyphens, with other government records.” In North Dakota, the Senate race was marred by the Republican strategy to hinder Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp by changing voter ID laws so that thousands of Native Americans wouldn’t be able to cast ballots. As Colorlines wrote at the time:
It’s not guaranteed that voter suppression—which has historically impacted people of color—was the only reason Republicans won in certain districts, but it likely helped.
Attempts at corruption still couldn’t stop more than 122 million people from voting in the 2018 elections, making it the “highest in a midterm election year since 1978,” which was the first year the United States Census Bureau compiled citizenship data.
Here are Pew’s key takeaways, pulled directly from the report:
All major racial and ethnic groups saw historic jumps in voter turnout.
The number of Latino voters nearly doubled from 2014 to 2018, nearing presidential election year levels.
Among Latinos and Asians, the voter turnout rate in 2018 for naturalized citizens was higher than among the U.S. born.
The nation’s voting population in 2018 was the most racially and ethnically diverse ever for a midterm election.
Asian and Hispanic voters were more likely than those in other groups to report casting their vote early or by mail.
Read the entire report here.