By John C. Davis
Traditionally, midterm elections see a decrease in turnout from that of presidential election years. These “off year” races, despite the relative lack of voter interest historically, are incredibly important. If you compare Arkansas midterm early voting numbers overtime, you find a considerable increase. In fact, the 2018 early vote total in Arkansas increased from 2014, a record year.
Nationally, our most recent midterm election saw significant shifts in leadership in Congress, as Democrats won the majority of seats in a midterm for the first time since 2006, and Republicans maintained control of the Senate. At the state level, Republicans fared much better. All four of Arkansas’ U.S. House of Representatives were re-elected and all are Republicans. At the state level, all victorious constitutional offices remained in Republican hands as did majorities in the state legislature. Election night did not go without some surprises at the state-level, however, with a few legislative incumbents losing their re-election bids. Northwest Arkansas Republican Charlie Collins lost to Denis Garner, a Democrat, and Michael John Gray, incumbent legislator and Democratic Party of Arkansas chairperson, lost his re-election bid to a Republican challenger.
My wife and I were blessed with our second child on December 3rd and, thus, I am more than a little behind with my number crunching of elections data. However, there are interesting (if not late) data to review. This graphic depicts the early vote turnout patterns for Drew County, Arkansas. We see something resembling an inverted “bell curve” as the first and final days of early voting appear to have been the busiest early voting days in the county.