Tuesday’s midterm election boasted one of the largest voter turnouts in Franklin County history.
There were 43,384 residents who made their voices heard at the ballot box.
In all, 60.27 percent of the county’s 71,982 registered voters came out in an election fueled by numerous propositions and amendments, as well as a U.S. Senate race that drew national attention.
County Clerk Debbie Door, chief election officer, said despite the crowds, her staff was ready and the election went smoothly.
“It was heavy all over, but I wasn’t surprised by the turnout,” Door said. “We had extra staff and extra voting booths in place. There was a little confusion over what type of ID voters needed to have due to the late court ruling.”
The busiest times at the 60 polling places in Franklin County Tuesday were between 6 and 10 a.m., then there was a lull through midday and afternoon hours until about 5 p.m. when people went to vote after getting off work.
Door had predicted a turnout of 60 to 65 percent and said as she was visiting polling places, the Prairie Dell precinct at East Central College was averaging 100 people per hour for the first four hours polls were open.
“ECC was crazy,” she said. “The lot was full and people were waiting outside and in the halls in line to vote.”
Despite the extended waits, Door said all in all voters were good-natured and she didn’t know of anyone leaving because of the lines.
“I wish we had this type of turnout for every election,” Door said. “There were a lot of young voters out. The Senate race was huge and I also think people had opinions on marijuana and the other issues.”
In the last few years, voter turnout has increased exponentially, especially in presidential years.
In 2012, the voter turnout in Franklin County was 67 percent.
Door thinks there are many factors that are fueling higher voter turnout and it may not be the candidates.
“There are a lot more political organizations on social media encouraging voters to get out and vote,” Door said. “The 2020 presidential election should be huge.”
That’s a Wrap
Although she’s glad it’s over, Door said this election was bittersweet since it will be her last as county clerk.
She is retiring at the end of the year and said even after 16 years of elections, she was most nervous about this one.
“It was a nail-biter,” she said. “I’m very thankful we’ve not had any problems with elections. After so many years of good ones, I didn’t want to be remembered by a bad one. For my last one, we had a high turnout and wide margins, and that’s what we want.”
The official election results are expected to be certified Tuesday, Nov. 13.