Former President Barack Obama is continuing to encourage Americans to participate in this year’s midterm elections as Election Day quickly takes hold across the U.S.
In the lead-up to the election, the former president stopped in some half a dozen swing states, including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania stop, where Obama appeared alongside President Joe Biden, Democratic Senate pick John Fetterman, and Democratic candidate for governor Josh Shapiro, was among the more recent. “Midterm elections matter,” a caption says on Obama’s personal account alongside a video in which he shares a similar message. “Don’t let anyone convince you that your vote won’t make a difference. Show up at the polls today and vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.” Watch below:
Midterm elections matter.
Don’t let anyone convince you that your vote won’t make a difference. Show up at the polls today and vote for Democrats up and down the ballot. pic.twitter.com/AMX96Gvpwn
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 8, 2022
There has been a high level of uncertainty in how this year’s elections will turn out, although nobody can obviously ever know for sure until the elections actually conclude. In Pennsylvania, where no-excuse mail-in voting (meaning any Pennsylvania voter can participate) was in place this year for the second election cycle, polls originally showed Fetterman far ahead of Trump-backed Republican challenger Mehmet Oz, aka Dr. Oz. In recent weeks, surveys tightened, leaving the race without a clear leader. Abortion has been among the key issues on voters’ minds — and, well, everybody’s minds — as the election has approached, with the outcome of governors’ races in certain states potentially becoming the decisive factor in whether access to reproductive healthcare is available. In Pennsylvania, Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and have done so for years. The outgoing Democratic governor was a key check on their power. Might that check soon vanish?
As observers wait for results, Democrats can at least point to a significant lead in the early vote, according to numbers from the political analytics firm TargetSmart estimating the partisan affiliation of the tens of millions of voters who cast ballots before Election Day itself. In the firm’s no doubt final update from late Monday night, Democrats were at 50.2 percent of the early vote, with Republicans at just 39.1 percent. Overall turnout was up, although the jump was mostly from older voters. Voters 50 and up were turning out in higher numbers than 2018, according to TargetSmart, with every lower age group showing up in smaller numbers. One relevant factor is, of course, increasing Republican distrust of anything other than voting in person on Election Day.