October 27, 2022
The 2022 midterm elections are still more than a week away, but more than half a million Pennsylvania voters already have cast their ballots, according to early voting data.
The United States Elections Project, which draws voting numbers from state officials, says Pennsylvania already has received 733,370 ballots. That's nearly 55% of the 1,351,159 mail ballots requested by state voters, and those ballots have a distinctly liberal bias.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Democratic voters have shown a preference for voting by mail. Polls found that 58% of Democrats mailed their ballots in 2020, and 84% support voting early or absentee for any reason. This year is no different. Per the Elections Project, 72.9% of the returned ballots came from registered Democrats, while 19.5% came from registered Republicans. The remaining 8% belonged to voters registered with a minority party, or no party at all.
Age also plays a factor. Elderly voters were more likely to vote absentee in 2020, and this election cycle seems to be trending in the same direction. The early voting data revealed that 55.9% of the returned ballots came from voters over age 65. Voters ages 41 to 65 made up 31.3% of the returned ballots, while those ages 26 to 40 made up 8.9%.
Mail-in voting has yet to take off with Generation Z, as only 3.9% of returned ballots came from voters ages 18 to 25.
Most of the early votes came from Allegheny County, which is currently responsible for 109,590 accepted ballots. It was followed by Philadelphia County (68,447), Montgomery County (59,422), Bucks County (55,298) and Chester County (29,200). Those five counties also requested the most mail-in ballots, in the same order.
As of December 2021, there were 8,676,127 voters registered in the state of Pennsylvania, meaning the current tally comprises just under 8.5% of total voters. But given past turnout, that percentage might actually be higher.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, 70.11% of registered votes cast a ballot in the 2020 election. Turnout is usually higher for presidential election years, however, so it's safe to expect an even lower percentage for this midterm cycle. Voter participation rates tend to trend closer to 40% in midterm elections, with 2018 marking a rare exception. As reported by PennLive, 58% of Pennsylvania voters went to the polls that year.
The deadline to register to vote in this election has passed, but registered Pennsylvania voters can still request a mail-in ballot. The application must be received by your county election board by Tuesday, Nov. 1, and the returned ballot must be received by the following Tuesday, Nov. 8.