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Voters brave rainy weather to cast midterm election ballots

Rainy weather did not appear to dampen voter turnout Tuesday as Delawareans headed to the polls for the 2018 Midterm election.

Brittany Valentia in Brandywine Hundred says she voted a straight Democratic ticket this year— and points to national politics and issues as the reasons for her decision.

“We’re here to support women’s rights, the LGBTQ community, and to make sure that we're ... protecting the environment," said Valentia. "Just making sure that everybody has their voice and a right to vote. We’re here for immigrants as well.”

Brittany’s daughter, Hannah, joined her at the polls, carrying a sign she made that said, “Thank you for voting.”

“Be kind, you are a strong person, let’s make the world a better place," she read from her sign.

Liza Avigliano voted with her toddler at a polling place in Sharpley. She said she also voted all Democrat this year — including for Laura Sturgeon in Senate District 4.

“I’ve looked at everyone, but today I just voted straight down the ticket," she said.

Jesse voted with his daughter at a polling place on the northwest edge of the City of Wilmington. He says he always votes, but never straight down a party ticket.

“Just based on who I thought would do a better job in that position," he said. "Whether it be a Democrat or a Republican.”

Margaret from Brandywine Hundred says Democrats were at the top of her ballot, but she doesn’t vote strictly along party lines.

“I voted for Carper, Kathleen Jennings," she said. "My vote’s split.”


Listen to more New Castle County voters talk about why they cast their ballots

In northwest Wilmington, a voter named Debbie says she focused on a single issue.

“Just crime in the city is my issue," she said.


Credit Sophia Schmidt / Delaware Public Media
Delaware Public Media
Voters head to P.S. duPont Middle School to cast their ballots

A voter named Katie cast her ballot at the same polling place.


“It’s important to me because I’m a woman and I need to keep my rights," she said.

She says national politics affected her choices on local races.


“It always does.”


One of the younger voters we encountered in Brandywine Hundred was Kalyn Morris. She said she voted mainly on economic issues.

“I wanted a big focus on job creation," said Morris. "I’ve been a little concerned about the economy, a lot of student loan forgiveness type issues. All the new people coming into job market, how’s that going to look for them? How much are they going to be getting paid? All those issues facing the new generation coming in.”


There wasn’t a line at East Dover Elementary School when Cassandra Robinson was there to cast her vote around noon.

Robinson is a millennial, born in 1989, and her big issues are LGBTQ rights and legalizing marijuana. She adds she’s been encouraging more people her age to also vote.


“Cause I don’t think that enough young people vote. Even if you look around here, like it’s a lot of elderly people," said Robinson. "I’m seeing a lot of canes on the way in here.”

Robinson says she tells her friends their votes do matter.

Robinson says encouraging words from actresses Jennifer Beals and Cynthia Nixon also motivated her to vote.


Further south in Milford, after the morning rush at the Memorial Volunteer Fire Department, voters trickled in as a light rain started to fall.


A retiree who goes by his last name, Cornwell Sr., was standing outside wearing a Make America Great Again hat and handing out fliers for U.S. Senate candidate Rob Arlett.


“I was hoping we’d have a greater turnout. Maybe this afternoon we’ll have a better turnout," said Cornell Sr. "Like I said, this morning I had to stand in line to vote and I was honored to do that.”


Audrey Cohen came out to vote with her husband. She says he had a brain aneurysm a few years ago and now she takes care of him full time.


She lists jobs and health care as the issues most important to her.


“It’s not working. It’s not affordable. It’s very frustrating. I, myself, get my health care through the VA. That in itself needs help,” said Cohen


Among the races voters in Milford had to consider were the 36th House District battle between Republican Bryan Shupe and Democrat Don Allan, as well as the 18th Senate District campaign pitting Democrat James Purcell against Republican David Wilson.


Over the past three midterm election cycles, the average turnout in Delaware has been 43 percent, compared to 66 percent for the last three presidential elections.

One sign turnout may be higher in this midterm—the Delaware Department of Elections says about 19,000 absentee ballots were cast this year, compared to 14,000 in 2014.


The polls are open until 8 p.m Tuesday.



Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.