Voter turnout in midterms highest in 50 years: report

Voter turnout in midterms highest in 50 years: report
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Voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections topped 113 million people, the highest rate of turnout for a midterm election since 1966, according to a report from the U.S. Election Project.

The figure, first reported by NBC News, would rank voter turnout in 2018 at 48.1 percent of all eligible voters, the highest since 48.7 percent of eligible voters participated in the 1966 midterm elections, which saw Democrats retain both houses of Congress despite losing seats to Republicans at the time.

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Final official vote counts are still being tabulated in several states, so the official number of votes cast in the 2018 elections could change. Additionally, several races in Florida, Arizona, and Georgia were headed to recounts Thursday night.

University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald, who runs the project, attributed the high level of turnout to high emotions centered around President TrumpDonald John TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation MORE's presidency from voters on both sides of the aisle.

"Let's give Trump some credit: He inflames passions for both Democrats and Republicans," he told NBC News.

Voter turnout spiked in some states such as Texas that were home to nationally-prominent races. In Texas, early voting numbers eclipsed the entire state's turnout in the 2014 midterm elections, which saw historically low turnout.

Democrats saw major gains in the House on Tuesday, but failed to retake the Senate from Republican control. Several prominent races including the Georgia and Florida governors' races remained uncalled as of Thursday night.