Wet weather on Election Day is good news for Republicans, conventional wisdom says. Cold could help the Democrats.
This Election Day could see a bit of both, with a chance of rain today and highs struggling into the 40s — so don’t forget a jacket and umbrella as you head to the polls.
Per a 2017 study of 14 U.S. presidential elections, every inch of rain that falls means voter turnout will decline by roughly 1 percent. The wet weather dissuaded Democrats the most, the study added.
But not everyone is convinced, and the competing science on this remains incongruent at best and impossible to reconcile at worst. An even better indicator of turnout may lie in the type of election, larger national and statewide races, and those with greater differences between the candidates.
For example, last year’s presidential election saw a 71.39 percent voter turnout in Allegheny County, with 660,009 ballots cast out of some 924,506 registered voters. It rained that day in Pittsburgh, with a high in the 60s. It was also a presidential election and one with few parallels in modern history, meaning it would have taken more than a few sprinkles to keep voters away.
By comparison, the 2015 general election in Pittsburgh — a non-presidential year — was dry and warm, but turnout barely cracked the 26th percentile.
In 2014’s gubernatorial election, Allegheny County saw voter turnout of 40.67 percent, county records show. It was cloudy with a high in the 60s.
In 2013’s off-year election, Allegheny County’s turnout was a paltry 20.62 percent. It was overcast with a high in the 50s.
And the 2012 presidential election saw a 67.83 percent turnout in Allegheny County. It was also partly cloudy and cool with a high in the 40s.
As for this year’s election, it’s a mostly municipal ballot with a bevy of uncontested races, meaning there’s little chance of turnout records being broken. If anything, the gloomy and chilly weather is likely to provide a convenient excuse for those already leaning toward abstention — but not you, right?
Polls open at 7 a.m. in Allegheny County, and voting ends at 8 p.m.
Use our Procrastinator’s Guide to Pittsburgh’s 2017 Municipal Election to brush up on candidates, find your polling place and see a sample ballot. Confused about the yes or no questions you’ll see? Read this.
If you have any problems or want to file a complaint, call the voter hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or fill out this online form.
Check back here for updates throughout the day, and let us know what you’re seeing, too: Email us at [email protected], follow along on Twitter at @theinclinepgh, or tag us on Instagram, #theinclinepgh.