Record number of voters cast their ballots in midterm election

As people filled in their ballots, voters across the nation determined who would be their state and nation’s next leaders, and the voting stations had more voters for the midterm elections since 1966, according to NPR.

On Nov. 6, 47 percent of the voting-eligible population cast their votes for state governors, representatives and senators. This means more than 110 million people cast their votes this year, according to NPR. In previous years the turnout for midterm elections ranged from 36.7 percent in 2014 and 41 percent in 2010.

Voters aged 18 to 29 shattered the turnout rates of the past 25 years with 31 percent of that age group casting ballots, according to an estimate by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. It estimated that this turnout had at least a 10 percent higher rate than the 2014 midterms election.

Sophomore political science major Moriah Lawrence said that by engaging in politics and elections she understands more about the country and how it works.

According to The Atlantic, “Young adults have had the worst turnout of any age group in every election since the U.S. Census Bureau began keeping track of voter-age data, in 1978.”

Lawrence said at John Brown University people can stay engaged with politics and the world simply by downloading a news app and keeping the notifications on.

“JBU could use a whole lot more people who are willing to speak up about their beliefs but also are able to engage respectfully with people around them,” Lawrence said.

Although Lawrence said that the liberal viewpoints on campus are more often expressed, she believes that people on campus could have healthy conversations, no matter their political affiliation. According to Pew Research, 44 percent of Millennial registered voters describe themselves as independents, compared with 39 percent of Gen Xers and smaller proportions of Boomers, 32 percent, and Silents, 27 percent.

A Wall Street Journal report said that 64 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds voted democrat and 32 percent voted republican. John Della Vope, director of polling at the Institute of Politics at Harvard, told U.S News and World Report that, “In an overwhelming number of races, according to exit polls, the Democrats won the younger vote–folks under the age of 45–and they lost folks over the age of 45.”

Jared Besse, senior political science major, said another way to stay involved is to have conversations with your friends or take a political class.

“At JBU, take a government class, we have really good government classes,” Besse said. “One of the classes that blew my mind and changed the way I look at politics was Faith and Politics or Religion and Politics is what it’s called now. That was just super instrumental in shaping how I view religion and how I view government interacting with it.”

Besse said having conversations with people around you can benefit your political knowledge. “I think that’s what’s going to encourage and foster more learning than a lot of other things. Plus you get different opinions that way than what you just have.”