Correction: the original version of this story stated Rep. Jim Banks received 56 percent of the 3rd District vote. He received 65 percent of the district vote, 56 percent in Allen County. The story has been amended to reflect this.
More than 49 percent of registered Allen County voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to numbers from the county election board. That’s four times the amount of voters who participated in 2014’s midterms, which saw 12 percent cast ballots.
Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics says this kind of boost has been historically uncommon in Indiana.
“In 2014, Indiana was 49th or 50th in voter turnout. This is a welcome surprise,” said Downs.
The turnout jolt was forecasted by a significant increase in early ballot entries. On October 26, Director of Elections Beth Dlug told WBOI that early and mail-in voting totals for Allen County tripled from 2014.
This boost was reflected statewide, as well; on Monday, Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reported that early voting in the Hoosier State surpassed the last two midterms.
While these numbers appear encouraging, Allen County still lagged behind surrounding counties in Northeast Indiana:
- Whitley County: 59.82 percent
- Wells County: 59.11 percent
- Huntington County: 55.75 percent
- Steuben County: 54.12 percent
- Kosciusko County: 51.76 percent
- Noble County: 51.2 perecent
Downs says the lower turnout largely comes down to President Donald Trump, and how he energizes both major political parties differently in rural and urban areas.
“While there might be some people who said, ‘I like the policies of the President but the behavior is just a bit too objectionable,’ there may have been fewer of those people in Allen County," he said.
"They may have decided, ‘I like the policies, I find the behavior objectionable but not enough to participate and vote.’”
Republican representative Jim Banks was re-elected with 56 percent of the vote in Allen County. In the hotly-contested seat for U.S. Senate, Republican Mike Braun pulled away with 52 percent of the vote while incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly only took 44 percent.