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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Only 5 of 10 voters turned out, cutting into Democrats' big election victory on Tuesday

In this photo from The New York Times, casino employees lined up to vote on Tuesday in Las Vegas.


HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The Blue Wave broke early -- much too early.

Democrats scored significant victories in the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday, gaining control of the House of Representatives, but didn't do the same in the Senate.

The reason may lie in disappointing voter turnout -- whether from apathy or laziness -- one of the major factors cited for the surprising victory of Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

"It looks like more than 113 million people voted, which would be at least 48 percent of eligible Americans," The New York Times reported on Friday, based on preliminary -- but incomplete -- data made available by the states and analyzed by Michael McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida.

So that means fewer than 5 of every 10 voters cast ballots. 

"By percent of people eligible to vote, it was the highest turnout of any midterm election since at least 1970 and the first time midterm turnout topped 100 million," The Times reported, quoting Target Smart, a data analytics firm that studies voter data.

Races for governor

Democrats took the governor's office in Wisconsin, defeating conservative Scott Walker; Pennsylvania and Michigan -- the three states whose electoral votes provided the margin of victory for Trump in 2016.

Meanwhile, dysfunctional Florida began the first statewide vote recount in its history on Saturday to decide the contests for U.S. Senate and governor -- races Republicans appeared to have won.

And a record 35 new women won House seats, meaning more than 100 women will take their seats on Jan. 3.

Hackensack turnout

More than 23,000 Hackensack residents were registered to vote last Tuesday, and turnout in most of the city's 27 voting districts bettered the national average of 48%.

Turnout ranged from 43.03% to 59.94%.

Nearly 55% of the 567,568 registered voters in Bergen County cast ballots.

If more voted ...

You can only imagine how the 2018 midterm elections, the 2016 presidential election and other national contests would turn out, if more voters cast ballots.

What is turning off voters in states that don't have Republican officials trying to suppress the vote or disqualify voters, as well as gerrymandering congressional districts?

The news media's relentless focus on politics is a big factor when what voters really want is information on how candidates stand on a wide range of issues -- from health care to the environment.

And the media's addiction to sound bites means they spread Trump's lies without fact-checking or pushback, delighting his supporters.

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