Over 120 million Americans voted in 2018, election agency survey finds

 Over 120 million Americans voted in 2018, election agency survey finds
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More than 120 million Americans, or around 52 percent of the voting-age population, voted in last years's midterm elections, a report published Thursday by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) found.

That marked an 11 percent increase in the amount of Americans who voted last year versus the 2014 midterm elections, according to the EAC’s 2018 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS).

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While voting in person is still the most popular form of casting a ballot, around a quarter of Americans who took part in the election mailed in their vote, according to the report. 

The report also detailed the security measures taken by election officials to ensure the vote counts were accurate.

The EAC found that 90 percent of election jurisdictions used machines that produced some type of paper backup of the votes cast, and that 78.2 percent of states required a post-election audit to check the results.

Twelve states did not require any type of audit, while half of the states now require audits of voting machines every election. 

One challenge the EAC reported from the results of the survey was the difficulty in recruiting sufficient polling workers, with nearly 70 percent of election jurisdictions rating this task as either “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult.”

The survey has been conducted by the EAC after every federal general election since 2004, and involves asking all U.S. states and territories to provide data on the ways Americans voted and how the elections were administered.

Nichelle Williams, the EAC’s director of research, told The Hill that 99.9 percent of election jurisdictions responded to the survey.

Williams noted that in future iterations of the survey, the EAC is “discussing the inclusion of cybersecurity-focused questions” to further address potential concerns around the security of election machines.

The EAC wrote in the report that its annual survey is useful for election officials to spot “anomalous and potentially malicious” activity in registration and voting, such as seeing if there was an abnormal spike in numbers.

The survey was released at the beginning of the EAC’s Election Data Summit taking place on Thursday on Capitol Hill, with election experts slated to discuss ways that data in the report can help Americans vote.