Voter turnout for general election is highest in years

LEWISTOWN — If you thought voter turnout for the Nov. 8, General Election was higher than usual, you were right.

By all accounts, some places throughout the country had turnout records shattered, particularly in rural areas, such as the Juniata Valley.

“My experience with elections at this level is limited, however we were expecting the uptick in voter participation and made some changes and adjustments to take this into consideration. Items from making sure that there would be enough ballots for each precinct, polling locations and capacities, absentee ballot count and timing matters, and voting equipment security and operations, to mention a few, were factors that were given extra consideration, review, and adjustment,” Mifflin County Voter Registration Director Harry Clever said.

Mifflin County saw 71 percent of registered voters cast ballots, or 18,520 out of 25,931.

There has been an upward trend in voter turnout since the 2004 general election, where voter turnout in Mifflin County was at 64 percent, or 16,917 ballots cast from a pool of 25,523 registered voters. In 2008, 65 percent of voters turned out to cast ballots, while 2012 brought 67 percent registered voters out to the polls.

“This is the biggest turnout I have seen in quite some time,” Juniata County Voter Registration Director Eva Weyrich said. “If you notice, many times when an incumbent is not running for an office, voters will be more apt to vote. That is just my opinion.”

In 2008, Juniata County had a 71 percent turnout of registered voters at the polls. That number dipped a bit in 2012 to 69 percent, but rebounded in 2016 to a staggering 77 percent, or 10,622 out of 13,830 registered voters casting ballots.