First Day Of Early Voting Shows High Numbers For Midterms
(KFSM) — The numbers are in for the first day of early voting across the region, and they are significantly higher than the last midterm elections.
In Benton County, the numbers for the first day of early voting Monday (Oct. 22) was 4,035 votes cast. By contrast, the county had 1,970 votes cast on the first day of early voting in the 2014 midterm elections.
In Washington County, Monday’s early votes totaled 2,975, up from 1,087 the first day of early voting in 2014.
In Sebastian County, early voters numbered 1,512 this year, compared to 896 in 2014. Crawford County had 512 early voters on Monday. The numbers for the first day of 2014’s early voting weren’t readily available, but the Crawford County Clerk’s office said the county had a total of 5,421 votes for the 13 days of early voting in 2014. That averaged about 417 voters a day.
A partial influence on the higher numbers could simply be a higher population. In Washington County, the estimated population in 2014 was 220,792, according to the U.S. Census. As of July 2017, the latest estimates, the population had grown to 231,996.
Benton County went from an estimated population of 242,321 in 2014 to 266,300 in 2017. Sebastian County went up from 126,776 in 2014 to 128,107 in 2017, and Crawford County rose in population from 61,697 to 62,996 in 2017.
Another factor may be the nationwide trend of more young people registering to vote this year.
Carolyn DeWitt, executive director of the nonprofit Rock the Vote, said millennials, or those ages 18-24, are more engaged this year.
“They’re largely actually self-conscious about their understanding about our government,” she said. She added that the belief that millennials are apathetic is bogus.
“Young people are incredibly passionate about the issues. It really comes down to helping them,” DeWitt said.
Early voting continues until 5 p.m. on Nov. 5. Early voting hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. A list of early voting sites can be found here.
CBS News contributed to this story.