AP NEWS

Voter Turnout High Across Local Towns

November 11, 2018

The Twin Cities saw a bump in voter turnout for this year’s state and midterm elections over the 2014 election, but neighboring smaller towns reported even higher participation rates that were well above the national average.

Roughly 55 percent of Leominster’s 28,248 registered voters cast their ballots during Tuesday’s election, or through early voting, while 45 percent of Fitchburg’s 25,671 voters did the same.

In each city’s case these are increases over the voter participation rates seen during the 2014 midterms when Leominster saw a turnout of 49 percent and Fitchburg saw a turnout of 41 percent.

Lancaster boasted one of the strongest turnouts in the area, as well as one of the biggest increases in votes between the 2014 and 2018 midterms. Of the town’s 5,218 registered voters, 76 percent voted in this year’s election, which is up from 60 percent of the 4,784 voters registered in 2014.

Lunenburg Town Clerk Kathryn Herrick estimated that as much as 80 percent of her town voted in this election, which is an increase of about 10 percent over 2014.

Ashburnham, which had about 52 percent of its registered voters casting ballots in 2014, had about 64 percent take part this year. Westminster, which was at 58 percent in 2014, also reported 64 percent participation this year.

Ashburnham, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg and Westminster were also all above the national average, according to the earliest estimates from the United States Elections Project, which say more than 47 percent of the country’s registered voters took part in the election, making it the highest midterm turnout in 50 years.

Not only is each community’s voting base getting more active, but the voting base as a whole has also expanded in the last few years.

Leominster has seen an additional 2,500 residents register to vote since 2014. Fitchburg has seen its voting ranks grow by nearly 4,000.

By comparison, towns surrounding Leominster and Fitchburg have only seen the total number of registered voters grow by a few hundred people since the 2014 election.

According to polling data from one regional campaign that declined to be identified, early voting held between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2 generated nearly 16,000 votes this year.

The majority of those voters, about 60 percent, were unenrolled while about 28 percent were Democrats and about 11 percent were Republicans.

Women proved to be more enthusiastic about early voting on a local level than men, with their votes making up about 57 percent of the total ballots cast throughout northern Worcester County prior to the Nov. 6 election.

One thing consistent with past elections was older age groups coming out in greater numbers to vote.

Local early voting data shows that people above the age of 65 made up for a little over 44 percent of the region’s early voting ballots. The next closest age group was people between the ages of 50 and 64, who made up about 32 percent of the votes.

People between the ages of 35 and 49 came in at a little more than 12 percent.

Voters between the ages of 18 and 34 only comprised 11 percent of the region’s total early votes.

Of all the communities in the Worcester and Middlesex state Senate district, Leominster had the largest portion of early votes at 24 percent, followed by Fitchburg at about 17 percent, and Gardner at 9 percent.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53

AP RADIO
Update hourly