Record number of midterm ballots cast in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Despite it not being a presidential election year, nearly 60 percent of registered voters in Vermont cast their ballots.

'I Voted Today' sticker, Photo Date: 10/27/2018 / Cropped Photo: Steve Rainwater / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (MGN)

You may have noticed how crowded the polling places were Tuesday. Voter turnout was higher than usual for a midterm election.

Of the 487,000 registered voters, the secretary of state's office estimates about 277,000 cast their ballots. That's about 55 percent to 58 percent, which the office says is on the higher side for a nonpresidential year.

While WCAX News crews were out at the polls, we noticed the longer-than-usual lines. Polling places we asked said they had steady turnout.

Secretary of State Jim Condos told us that before the election, they got twice as many requests for absentee ballots as they did in the last midterm in 2014. He said turnout is also influenced by hotly contested races on the local level, also top of the ticket races, weather and local ballot items, along with national politics.

"Our Vermont turnout is usually pretty good compared to other places in the country. We seem to be stronger in our turnout. There is a lot of discourse going on right now at the national level and that helped drive a lot of the turnout across the country," said Condos, D-Vermont.

Those turnout numbers are only preliminary. The secretary of state's office won't have the official results certified for a few more days. Towns have until the end of the day Thursday to provide their final information.