TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — The lively polling places on election day in Tompkins County translated to strong midterm turnout numbers, an early turnout count shows. When all counted, the midterm turnout results may end up 10 percentage points higher than previous midterm election years.

The voting machines indicate a 63 percent turnout across Tompkins County, with some polling places reaching as high as 72 percent. Absentee and affidavit ballots also still need to be counted and may add a few percentage points to the overall turnout. In the past two midterm elections in 2014 and 2010, the turnout was 53 percent and 58 percent respectively.

(Graph by Devon Magliozzi/The Ithaca Voice)

On Wednesday morning, Democratic Commissioner Stephen Dewitt at the Tompkins County Board of Elections said he has been working at the board of elections since 2003 and said this midterm election “had the feel of a presidential election from where we were sitting.”

Midterm elections are typically the second-busiest election in the four-year cycle, he said, but he said the turnout was really strong this year.

“It was very active,” Dewitt said. “A lot more people were engaged this year.”

Election 2018: Who won? Results and turnout updated

Even when everything is counted, the turnout won’t quite reach presidential race numbers. On election day in 2016, the unofficial turnout was 71 percent and increased to 78 percent when all the absentee and affidavit ballots were included, Dewitt said.

Dewitt said about 3,900 absentee ballots were issued and have until Tuesday, Nov. 13 to arrive. They had to be postmarked Monday. The Board of Elections will also have to go through affidavit ballots, which he estimates to be around 500.

The polling places in Tompkins County that had the highest turnout with more than 70 percent turnout were Fall Creek School, Varna Community Association, Franziska Racker Centers, Trumansburg Fire Department and Kendal at Ithaca.

It’s too early to tell until the demographics are examined, but Dewitt said there seemed to be more young voters engaged this year, based on people who were coming in for absentee ballots. “We’ll see if the numbers bear that out,” he said.

The turnout results currently available on the Tompkins County Board of Elections are unofficial tallies. The results will be certified in about two weeks, Dewitt said.

Explore a map below created by Reporter Devon Magliozzi. 
Check out the visualization by Reporter Devon Magliozzi that shows turnout by polling place. The visualization covers the full day’s unofficial turnout; absentee ballots will be added when counts become available.

Larger circles represent higher voter counts. Darker blue represents higher turnout percentages. Hover over a polling place for detailed information.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.