by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
The 38 percent voting-age turnout is higher than the turnout in the last midterm election — 37.4 percent in 2010 — and is the second-highest in the state dating to 1974, the first competitive two-party election of the modern era. The highest was 41.2 percent in 1990.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, and leader of the Moral Monday protests opposing actions taken by the GOP-controlled General Assembly, said the new election law may have inflated the margin of victory for GOP Sen.-elect Thom Tillis over Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan.
Barber specifically referenced provisions curtailing the number of early voting days, the elimination of same-day registration during early voting, and disallowing out-of-precinct voting.
Barber did not respond to a request for a comment on the turnout numbers.
High turnout plus the loss of the candidates supported by the proxy movement for the Democrats was the worst possible outcome for it. With low turnout, no matter who won, the movement would have some semblance of cover for crying foul. With high turnout and defeat of Tillis and enough GOP members of the state legislature at least to lose a supermajority, the movement could have claimed it has actual pull and congratulated itself on a strong get-out-the-vote effort.
High turnout that essentially ratified the still-new direction the state is heading in afforded neither claim and leaves the movement speaking in “may haves” and trying to spin, rather than trumpet, a tale of repudiation.