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What High Turnout Looks Like: Unusually High Enthusiasm Reported at Polling Sites Nationwide

"We're seeing a lot more people that typically sit out midterm elections going and showing up because they believe these races are so important."

Virginia residents line up to vote in the pouring rain at Robious Middle School November 6, 2018 in Midlothian, Virginia. The U.S. holds its midterm elections today, the first time the nation has voted since a divisive 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

This is a developing story and this post may be updated.

One GOP candidate in New Jersey made the hopeful prediction that rainy "Republican weather" on Tuesday would make for the kind of low turnout that's helped to keep his party in power. But early reports indicate that the forecast in many cities and states isn't keeping voters away from the polls in the 2018 midterm elections.  

As polls opened in states across the U.S., news outlets and voters themselves reported unusually long lines, potentially indicating turnout that's higher than average for midterms. With Election Day following several weeks of early voting in a number of key states—during which more than 30 million Americans voted and turnout records were broken in states including Georgia and Florida—political observers pointed to the lines as evidence of high levels of voter enthusiasm.

"If you look at the numbers, early voting is shattering records among young people, among people of color," Ari Berman of Mother Jones told Democracy Now! early Monday. "We're seeing a lot more people that typically sit out midterm elections going and showing up because they believe these races are so important." 

Early reports out of states including Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, Minnesota, and Rhode Island suggested unusually high turnout for a midterm election.

Google also reported that its most-searched for term on Tuesday morning was "Dónde votar"—Spanish for "where to vote," suggesting high levels of interest in voting in Latino communities.

On social media, some cautioned against drawing firm conclusions about turnout from early on-the-ground reports, noting that closed polling places in states like Kansas, Arizona, and Texas may be causing congestion—and are no cause for celebration. 

But others suggested that the long lines should not be discounted following a contentious election season that marked by mass mobilization among young people, a record number of women and women of color running for office, and widespread outrage over President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policies and the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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