Not everyone was happy with the results of Tuesday’s long-anticipated midterm elections, but those who push for more U.S. citizens to vote should be thrilled. According to NBC, early estimates show that there were more votes cast in this election than in any other midterm race for 50 years.
An estimated 48.1 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, over 113 million people in total, according to research by University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald, who runs the U.S. Election Project. If that holds it would be the highest rate since 1966, when 48.7 percent of voters participated.
The numbers are still subject to change as states continue to report final vote counts, especially places like California, where voters can mail in their choices all the way up to Election Day and large numbers of ballots have yet to be counted.
Four years ago, in the 2014 midterm elections, the turnout was historically low, with only 36.7 percent of voters casting a ballot. The turnout was especially low in Texas, which saw a surge this year thanks to the competitive race between Senator Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.
There’s one major reason for this turnaround: Trump. Exit polls showed that two-thirds of voters named Trump as their reason for voting in this election, even though the president wasn’t on the ballot.
“Let’s give Trump some credit: He inflames passions for both Democrats and Republicans,” McDonald told NBC.