DARKE COUNTY — Darke County saw an increase in voter turnout this year from the 2016 presidential election cycle, though only by a slight margin.
In previous elections, Darke County has leaned heavily Republican and this year was no different. All of the statistics presented in this article come courtesy of the Darke County Board of Election’s unofficial canvassing results, so while the numbers may reflect the larger picture, they are still subject to minor changes.
In 2020, Darke County had 34,670 registered voters, and of that number, 26,855 cast their ballots, a voter turnout percentage of 77.46. In 2016, there were around 34,000 registered voters, and 75.8 percent of those cast their ballots. In the 2012 election, there was a turnout of 81.18 percent, and the 2008 and 2004 elections saw a turnout of around 92 and 70 percent, respectively.
This year, in particular, has seen a slew of newfound political issues rise to the forefront of the minds of American voters, and the turnout reflects this. One of the primary reasons for a solid turnout this year, as speculated by political pundits on both sides of the aisle, is that Donald Trump and Joe Biden both have a very high level of name recognition, and this is no different in Darke County.
In 2020, of the 26,855 ballots cast, 21,569, or 80.92 percent, were cast for Donald Trump, and 4,688, or 17.51 percent, were cast for Joe Biden. Donald Trump received 9,521 votes from the polling locations on election day, 3,602 votes via absentee mail-in ballots, and 8,446 votes from early absentee voting. On the other hand, Joe Biden received 994 votes from the polling locations, 1,965 votes from mail-ins, and 1,709 from early absentee ballots. Aside from the two major party candidates, Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen received a total of 324 votes, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins received 60 votes, and general write-ins accounted for 33 votes.
The difference in the Republican/Democrat split in Darke County doesn’t differ much from the 2016 results. In 2016, Donald Trump received 78.17 percent of the total vote, with Hillary Clinton receiving 17.46 percent. So, while both candidates didn’t see much change for their party in Darke County in 2020, it is still worth noting that a two-percent increase in general voting is a win for both parties, and our country as a whole.
Paul Schlecty, director of the Darke County Board of Elections, offered his most sincere thanks to Darke County voters and poll workers for making election day the best it could be.
“I would like to sincerely thank all of the poll workers and part-time staff at the board of elections for all of their help,” noted Schlecty. “They went through a lot on Tuesday and they really came through to help make our process the best it could be.”