KERRY HUBARTT COLUMN: Early voting numbers astounding, but the rest of us must still go vote

Kerry Hubartt

Republicans must get out and vote tomorrow.

Mike Braun, Jim Banks and others we want to see in office need an outpouring of support to survive this midterm election Too much is at stake for any of us to decide we’re just too tired, or it’s just too inconvenient to go to the polls.

The call to get out and vote comes on the heels of a flood of people across the country, who have already cast their ballots in staggering numbers through the convenient option of early voting.

An NBC News report on Wednesday said more than 24 million votes had been counted as early or absentee, a number that nearly doubles the nationwide early vote in 2014.

Although the overall turnout in 2014 was the lowest in 70 years according to the United States election project, some states this year are approaching presidential levels of turnout.

As of Wednesday, NBC reported 24,024,621 early and absentee ballots had been counted in all states with early voting activity. At the same time, prior to the 2014 election, 12,938,596 such ballots had been counted. This year’s total is an increase of 46 percent.

In Indiana, the difference is even more dramatic. Early voting here as of Wednesday was 371,544, compared to 117,441 in 2014 — an increase of 254,103 or 68 percent. Early voting began Oct. 10 in Indiana and ends today.

Tennessee’s increase in early voting over 2014 was 80 percent, Texas’ was 66 percent, Georgia’s was 65 percent and Nevada’s was 61 percent.

Voter turnout is usually lower during midterm elections than presidential elections. But this year the early voting total six days out is not that far from the 29,196,380 early votes counted six days ahead of the presidential election in 2016.

Because of this year’s numbers, pollsters are predicting the country might actually surpass a 50 percent voter turnout for this election, something not attained in half a century. And with that kind of potential turnout, neither side, Republicans or Democrats, dare to slack off in their civic duty to vote.

At this point in 2016, when Donald Trump won the presidential election and Republicans took the House and Senate, 43 percent of early voters were Democrats and 40 percent were Republicans. The NBC report shows that as of Wednesday, 43 percent of early voters are Republicans and 41 percent are Democrats.

Conservatives must put legs to their concerns over the current state of the nation — intolerance and incivility from the left over the issues that define us — “not just the profound lack of decency,” says Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, “but the brute power angry liberals are using to get their way. It reminds [us] of the government power Barack Obama used against people of faith at work, school and in public life. And they’re determined not to go back.”

So don’t let the early voting numbers make you think your vote isn’t needed. The early voting surge this year confirms the heightened interest in the bitterly contested races for control of Congress and state houses across the nation.

Go out and do your part.

Kerry Hubartt is former editor of The News-Sentinel.