‘More Like a Presidential Election’: Turnout High Throughout Area

Turnout for the midterm elections seems to have been high throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs Tuesday.

Official vote tallies will take a while to collect. But with 98.4 percent of precincts reporting as of 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, unofficial voter turnout was at 51.25 percent, with an estimated 545,383 people casting their ballots.

That number eclipses turnout for the 2014 midterms, which was 37.3 percent and totaled 383,834 voters, according to Nick Custodio, deputy commissioner at the Philadelphia Commissioner's Office.

This year's 51.25 percent turnout is expected to increase after provisional and absentee ballots are counted, Custodio said.

Pennsylvania's highest midterm turnout in the last 20 years was in 2006, when it was 50 percent.

"It was a fantastic day for democracy in Philadelphia. I’ve been involved in elections in Philadelphia for over 30 years. If anyone would have told me that we would reach this number with the weather we had this morning, I would not have believed them," Deeley said.

The Committee of Seventy estimated that as of 5:20 p.m. about 404,000 people had voted in Philadelphia. In the entire 2014 election, a total of 381,503 voted, according to the non-partisan group.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney put out a statement that Philadelphians had voted "in greater numbers than any midterm election in recent history."

At the University of Pennsylvania, numbers provided by poll workers showed that voter turnout had more than doubled from 2014, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported. In 2014, 1,113 people voted on campus; today, 2,398 voted.

The turnout seemed high in the suburbs, too. Even before 11 a.m., 300 people had voted in a single ward in Nether Providence Township in Delaware County. Lines were seen at polling places in Chester County and in the city of Philadelphia.

In the Lehigh Valley, turnout was "more like the presidential election," WFMZ quoted a precinct judge.

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