TEXAS, USA — Last minute ballots are still being counted in some parts of Texas, but every big race has already been called.
The surprising thing is the voter turnout numbers we've seen, participation in the 2022 Midterm Election was historically bad. Almost 9.6 million registered voters in Texas didn't even show up to the polls this year. For reference only around 8 million people did vote.
The lack of people at the polls was so severe that it beat the previous record of registered voters not voting, which was around 9.3 million in the 2014 Midterm.
How do the numbers compare in Central Texas?
With an increase in registered voters and also people seeming to be politically enthused -- expectations were high, but they were far from met.
The lone star state, long recognized as dominantly red, has also always been known as something else.
"Texas used to be sort of nationally known as a very low voter turnout state," said Pat Flavin, a political science professor at Baylor University.
But, has it gotten better? It's inconsistent.
"2018 there was a huge increase compared to 2014 in voter turnout," Flavin said. "This year it's probably going to be less than 2018."
In this years' primary, Bell County had 87,885 total ballots cast. That's only 38.5 percent of total registered voters.
In the 2018 Midterm Election, Bell County had 86,516 ballots cast. That's about 1,000 less than what we saw this year, but there were tens of thousands more registered voters.
In McLennan County, 72,806 people cast ballots in the 2022 Midterm Election, which is 47.5 percent of the county's registered voters.
Compared to 2018, which had a larger turnout with 75,787.
"Voter apathy can become and is a real thing," Flavin added.
He says elections and items on the ballots can be overwhelming, especially as Americans with how often we vote. However, turnout can also be impacted by access to voting.
"Research shows that making it easier to vote boosts voter turnout," Flavin said.
Texas has added more early voting days, but has stricter rules, compared to other states, when it comes to registering and absentee voting.
Flavin said concrete changes could be made if Texas wants more voters.
"The end result of that would be you would get to hear from more Texans and who they think should represent them in Austin and in Washington," he explained.
Flavin said that the biggest increase in registered voters was in younger people, ages 18 to 29, but the group is still the lowest to participate in elections.