A record number of people registered to vote in the midterm elections on National Voter Registration Day last week, surpassing the previous record set during the 2016 presidential campaign. More than 800,000 people registered to vote this year as part of National Voter Registration Day, which fell on Sept. 25. The corresponding campaign had aimed to register 300,000 people. “Some us were saying, ‘Hey, maybe we’ll hit 400 or 500,000,” says Brian Miller, who coordinates National Voter Registration Day in his role as executive director of Nonprofit VOTE. “No one that I know of thought we would surpass 800,000 voter registrations. That surprised all of us. But I think it’s a sign of the interest in the midterms and the interest in having this unified day of action.”
By comparison, the holiday drew in 771,321 voter registrations in 2016. In 2014 — the only other midterm election for which the holiday has existed — 154,500 people registered to vote. The holiday was first observed in 2012.
Miller says he does not have a demographic breakdown of the 800,000 voter registrations.
Voter turnout tends to fall in midterm election years. But both Democrats and Republicans have been emphasizing the high stakes of the 2018 midterms, as a Supreme Court confirmation battle, Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling and the future of the Trump Administration’s agenda hang in the balance.