I watched this year as tons of ridiculous obstacles occurred when people tried to vote. In DC, in my area, the polling places are so numerous that I walk past one on the way to mine and I only have to walk about six blocks to a polling place in an ADA compliant library. We have early voting and day of, so while I know DC has work to do (getting rid of closed primaries for one) the act of voting works pretty well.
Oh yeah, and we have paper and machines, and the machines print out your vote for you to do one last check.
I saw stories about people who had their polling place moved some distance, who got there to discover the polling place couldn't open on time because poll workers were late or machines were malfunctioning, or a variety of reasons. I can't imagine trying to decide if I can afford to wait four hours in line to vote, and of course you wouldn't know it was four hours at the start, so if you called your office or other obligations. And of course this is on top of new restrictions lots of places out in place, folks discovering they had been purged for not fixing the dash on one piece of government paper because fixing dashes takes time and money.
So to hear that more people voted in the midterms than in quite some time gives me hope. It tells me that we have in fact gotten out the vote because I know some of those folks who got purged weren't able to get it fixed in time. I know some of those people who arrived at a polling place to discover none of the voting machines worked had to leave. Couldn't afford to wait. So for the numbers to look that good with all the people we know it couldn't include, is incredible.
Voting shouldn't be that hard. The hard part should be your research. But I'm so pleased that more people are showing up in the face of whatever obstacles their region puts in their way and hope they continue to do so while we work to make voting a less arduous process for everyone.