NATIONAL NEWS

Almost half of midterm voters cast ballots early or by mail

May 2, 2023, 11:23 AM

FILE - Signs point to the entrance on the last day of early voting before the midterm election as a...

FILE - Signs point to the entrance on the last day of early voting before the midterm election as a man walks out of a polling site in Cranston, R.I., on Nov. 7, 2022. Almost half of all voters in the 2022 midterm elections cast their ballots before Election Day either by mail or through early voting, with Asian and Hispanic voters leading the way, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday, May 2, 2023, shows, even as Republican-led states have tightened rules on voting by mail. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Almost half of all voters in the 2022 midterm elections cast their ballots before Election Day either by mail or through early voting, with Asian and Hispanic voters leading the way, according to new data the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday.

The heavy use of both early voting and voting by mail occurred even as Republican-led states have tightened rules on both voting methods over the last two years, and it marked a steep rise from the two previous midterm elections in 2018 and 2014. Only the 2020 presidential election, during the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic, had a greater share of of U.S. voters who cast ballots early or by mail — more than two-thirds of voters did so.

In the 2022 midterm elections, two-thirds of Asian voters and almost three-fifths of Hispanic voters cast ballots by mail or at early-voting sites, while less than half of white and Black voters did so, according to Census Bureau survey data.

Unusual dynamics drove midterm turnout last year including the U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier in the year allowing states to ban abortion and the repudiation of deniers of the 2020 election results in political swing states.

In fact, 52.2% of people eligible to vote in the U.S. cast their ballots, a midterm mark surpassed in the past 20 years only by the 2018 congressional elections which had 53.4% turnout. More than 69% of voting-age citizens were registered to vote, the highest rate for a midterm election in two decades, according to the survey.

More than a quarter of registered voters who failed to cast their ballots in 2022 said they were too busy or had a work or school conflict, the most common excuse given in the survey. Asian and Hispanic registered voters gave that reason at a higher rate than Black and white registered voters.

The next most-common reason for registered voters failing to cast their ballots was “not interested, felt my vote wouldn’t make a difference,” at more than 17%, an increase of more than 2 percentage points from 2018. White voters, Hispanic voters and voters identifying as some other race had higher rates of this response than Asian and Black voters, according to the survey.

Republican-led states have tightened voting rules as former President Donald Trump and his allies continue to baselessly claim his defeat in 2020 was due to widespread election fraud. Republican lawmakers and their allies say the new laws are meant to ensure election integrity. But Democrats and voting rights activists say they are based on conspiracy theories and will end up disenfranchising voters, especially young people and minorities.

Some of the measures in GOP-controlled states have banned 24-hour polling places and drive-thru voting, restricted the use of drop boxes for mailed ballots and reduced the number of ballot drop boxes.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

National News

Associated Press

AP-NORC poll: About half of US adults approve of Trump’s conviction, but views of him remain stable

NEW YORK (AP) — About half of U.S. adults approve of Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey shows some potential vulnerabilities, along with some signs of resilience in his support, as Trump tries to become the first American with a felony […]

55 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times […]

1 hour ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

One of several South Dakota baseball players charged in rape case pleads guilty to lesser felony

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — One of the several former players on an American Legion baseball team in South Dakota charged last year with rape has pleaded guilty to a lesser felony. The 19-year-old former Mitchell player pleaded guilty to one count of accessory to a felony, according to court documents cited by KELO-TV on Tuesday. […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden and Zelenskyy will sign security agreement between US and Ukraine when they meet at G7

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will sign a bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Ukraine on Thursday when they meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, aiming to send signal to Russia of American resolve to supporting Kyiv, the White House said as […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Alabama seeks more nitrogen executions, despite concern over the method

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is seeking to carry out another nitrogen gas execution, months after the state became the first to put a person to death with the previously untested method. The attorney general’s office on Monday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to authorize an execution date for Carey Dale Grayson, who was convicted […]

14 hours ago

Almost half of midterm voters cast ballots early or by mail