election day

Voter turnout on Tuesday was massive: More than 47 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Tuesday, according to early estimates from the United States Election Project.

"Almost half of possible voters actually voted" might not sound impressive. But for a U.S. midterm election, it's a whopping figure. Compare that with just 36.7 percent in 2014, and 41 percent in 2010.

That's the highest turnout for a midterm since 1966, when 49 percent of the population showed up to vote.

There are a lot of different ways to read the results from elections across the country Tuesday.

There will be lots of spin in the coming days about what it all means, but here are seven ways to cut through the noise and put what happened in context:

1. It was a Democratic wave in the House, and that is a very big deal.

2018 Election Results: Key Local Races

Nov 6, 2018

WBFO is following key local races in the 2018 Midterm Elections. See the results from local polls here.

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By Election Day, most voters have seen or heard a lot of negative political ads. The number of negative ads in federal races is up 60 percent this year from the 2014 midterms, according to The Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks broadcast political advertisements. But negative ads can have some useful features for voters.

There's a lot that can happen Tuesday, the culmination of a long midterm election campaign that will provide the first nationwide measure of the U.S. electorate since Donald Trump was elected president.

There are dozens of competitive races across the country that will determine control of the House, Senate and governors' seats. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take back the House, Democrats need a net gain of two seats to flip the Senate and Democrats are expected to slice into Republicans' 33-16 advantage in governors' seats.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

With the opening of the polls less than a day away, party activists were at their headquarters this weekend, making sure their candidates win Tuesday.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

In the final days ahead of potentially pivotal midterm elections, activists are working to get voters to the polls who ordinarily might not show up when the presidency doesn't hang in the balance.

Donors have poured millions of dollars into efforts to turn out more African-Americans, Hispanics and young people for the 2018 elections.

With early voting under way in many states, there are signs that these efforts may be paying off.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

In a speech quoting poet William Butler Yeats and President Ronald Reagan, former Vice President Joe Biden told a University at Buffalo audience political leaders have to "lower the temperature" of politics.

Nick Lippa / WBFO News

With the time to Electon Day starting to be measured in days and hours and not in weeks or months, conservative firebrand Steve Bannon came to town Wednesday to plead for other conservatives to go out to vote and encourage others to vote.

After some back-and-forth, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican challenger Marc Molinaro have agreed to a debate that will be held in New York City on Tuesday.

Niagara Falls Mayor's Office

Many voters in Ontario will continue to cast ballots Tuesday after technical difficulties forced at least a dozen municipalities to extend voting in local elections.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

With the National Women's March on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, local supporters rallied Sunday at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park to oppose what they called the "Military-Industrial Complex."

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

With control of the New York State Senate on the ballot Election Day, state legislation about child abuse by clergy has moved onto the political scene.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence) says his last day in office will be Dec. 31, as charges of insider trading against him have essentially ended his political career and reputation. He says what he does next will not be politics.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be on the ballot Thursday against activist and actor Cynthia Nixon for another term. However, speaking to a roaring crowd of Democratic activists Monday night, he was running against President Donald Trump and never mentioned his actual election opponent.

Democrats in New York are heartened by what they call a “blue wave” in this week’s election results in the state and the nation.

There are three propositions on the ballot in Tuesday’s elections, though one has proven to be more controversial than the others.


Karen Dewitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

We walk up the trail to the summit of Hadley Mountain in the southern Adirondacks, fallen leaves crunching underfoot. The wind picks up a bit as we climb up the fire tower for the panoramic view.

The cemetery where women's suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony is buried extended its hours Tuesday "to accommodate those wishing to celebrate their vote" at her gravesite.

Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y., will be open until polls there close at 9 p.m. ET.

Although this presidential election is the first in American history to have a woman on the ballot as a major party candidate, it is not the first time people have commemorated their votes by visiting Anthony's grave.

The rallies and debates, the tweets and the fundraisers, the wearying last-minute swings through the same half-dozen or so battleground states — all that is winding down at last.

Today it was time for the two major presidential candidates to perform the Election Day ritual of casting their own votes, just like average Joes, except for the fact that average Joes aren't usually trailed by dozens of reporters and TV cameras.

Traditionally, the media puts coverage of political polls on hold on Election Day, and only begins reporting on exit polls after the polls have closed. This year, though, a number of newer outlets are planning to cover projections throughout the day.

Votecastr, a partnership between Slate and Vice News, will provide coverage of the race in part by tracking the number of people who have voted at particular polling stations.

New York State Senate

Western New Yorkers are going to the polls for what is expected to be a lightly attended primary election. A hotly contested race for Erie County District Attorney is on the ballot, along with State Senate, Assembly and judicial delegates.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

After all the votes are counted, winners are declared and speeches are delivered, many who spent the past few weeks working the campaign trail - as well as many who covered them - will head out for a post-election nightcap. While several local establishments will enjoy business, one downtown pub in particular has enjoyed a role as a semi-official stop for many.


Some hotly contested races are on the ballot today, including elections for Erie County executive and Niagara Falls mayor.


File photo

The two commissioners of Erie County's Board of Elections are offering mixed thoughts on the anticipated turnout for Election Day 2015.


Republicans could lose control of the Erie County Legislature on Election Day. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy believes two races will determine who will be the majority party.


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