Questlove DJ'd in Philadelphia as part of a 'Joy to the Polls' voter turnout effort Credit: Twitter / @PizzaToThePolls

It looks like Philadelphia voter turnout for the November 2022 election will be the city’s second-best showing for midterms in the past three decades.

The unofficial tally of votes cast in Philly was 493,529. That’s about 46% of registered voters in the city.

“Sounds like we had a great day out there on the street,” said Commissioners Chair Lisa Deeley at an election night press conference. “We thank all of our dedicated poll workers, our neighbors, our family and friends who worked a long day to make sure that democracy happens in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.”

This year’s strong showing was short of the monster returns in the last midterm elections. In 2018, 52.5% of registered voters came out.

About 1.6 million people live within the city limits, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates. About 22% are under 18, which removes them from the voter equation. On the other side, some of the city’s registered voters are in the military or living abroad. There have been an average of about 20k votes cast this way in recent elections.

This chart shows Philadelphia turnout for the past several of midterm elections — aka the years when gubernatorial and federal races are on the ballot, but there’s no presidential race.

The pattern was different in the primary.

Turnout in May 2022 was considerably stronger than in 2018 — nearly 24% of registered voters went to the polls, while 17% turned out in May four years ago.

The much more competitive Senate races may have made the difference. This year, both Republicans and Democrats had tight contests — the GOP race even went to a recount. Back in 2018, Sen. Bob Casey was running unopposed for a third term.

Meanwhile this year’s gubernatorial race was quite similar to 2018, as Governor Tom Wolf and Governor-elect Josh Shapiro both ran opposed in their respective primaries.

Jordan Levy is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn, always aiming to help Philadelphians share their stories. Formerly, he has worked at Document Journal, n+1 Magazine, and The New Republic. He...