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Voters wait to cast their ballots on Nov. 8, 2022 in Tucson, Ariz.
Voters wait to cast their ballots on Nov. 8 in Tucson, Ariz.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Turnout was down in the 2022 midterms, but not in these key states

Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Hampshire all saw an increase in turnout from 2018.


Nearly 110 million American voters cast ballots in the 2022 midterms — with votes still being counted in Arizona and California.

That’s down slightly from the midterm elections four years ago, when a record 115 million participated in the 2018 midterms.

But with almost all the votes now counted, what stands out are the states that saw an increase in turnout from 2018 versus those that didn’t.

States with some of the most competitive races for U.S. Senate and/or governor saw the greatest increases in turnout between 2018 and 2022, including in New Hampshire (a jump of 8.3%), Arizona (7.8%), Pennsylvania (6.6%) and Michigan (5.3%), according to an NBC News Political Unit analysis of turnout in statewide contests. 

Voter participation in the marquee midterm battlegrounds of Georgia and Wisconsin was essentially unchanged from four years ago. 

But, many of the states that had the biggest declines were ones that featured competitive statewide contests in 2018 but not in 2022 — such as North Dakota (26.5% decrease), Tennessee (22.5% decrease), West Virginia (19.5% decrease), Indiana (18.1% decrease) and Missouri (15.5% decrease).

South Dakota was the only Western plains state to see an increase in turnout from 2018. On the ballot was a measure to expand Medicaid access, which passed with 56% support.

Largest states see the biggest voting decreases

In addition, the four most populous states in the nation — California, Texas, Florida and New York — all saw decreases in turnout from 2018, helping to explain why nationwide turnout was down from four years ago. 

In California, the most populous state in the nation, turnout was down 7.5% as of Nov. 21 (with ballots still being counted), and it was down by more than 5% in both Florida and New York.

Speaking of Florida, former battleground states like it, Ohio (a decrease of 8.6%) and Iowa (8.0% decrease) — which are no longer as competitive as they used to be — also saw turnout declines.