Nov 14, 2022 - Politics

Ohio voter turnout down in '22 midterms

A poll worker helps a woman and child place a ballot into a ballot reader.

Ohio residents cast their votes at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center and mosque in Dublin on Nov. 8. Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fewer Ohioans cast ballots in last week's midterms than in 2018, results from the secretary of state show.

Why it matters: The data points to a lack of voter enthusiasm, particularly in Democratic areas, which might have impacted the results of the high-profile U.S. Senate race won by Republican J.D. Vance.

By the numbers: Statewide turnout declined from 55.7% in 2018 to a still-unofficial total of 51.1% this year.

  • The 2022 percentage will increase slightly as additional mail-in and provisional votes are counted, with official certification happening later this month.

Of note: A greater number of Ohioans cast early ballots this year, particularly in person at county Board of Elections offices.

Zoom in: Franklin County turnout was down considerably this year, from 55.7% in 2018 to 47.2% in 2022.

  • Even when more ballots are counted, the official total is unlikely to hit 50%.

The big picture: Similar drop-offs were recorded in other metros like Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Lucas counties.

  • Ryan earned considerably fewer votes in those four blue counties than Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown received in 2018.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine's 2.5 million votes (and counting) are the most ever received in an Ohio gubernatorial election.

  • Turnout went up in several deeply red counties such as Pickaway County, just south of Columbus, which voted for Vance by a 71-29 margin.

Between the lines: More than half of likely Republican voters identified inflation as their top issue headed into Election Day, per a Baldwin Wallace University poll from late October.

  • Democrats were more split on their top issue: Abortion led with 31% of voters.
  • The initial surge of women registering to vote after Roe v. Wade's reversal made little impact on Ohio's elections results.

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