COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Election night has come and gone but a big question that remains is how many people voted in the midterm election.

Although early voter turnout in the Nov. 8 election exceeded 2018, setting a record for Ohio, suggesting an enthused election cycle, but overall turnout tells a different tale.

“I think if you lined up all the indicators, you’d have to have guessed in advanced that there would be a large, unprecedented turnout on Election Day,” OSU National Security Studies Chair Christopher McKnight Nichols said. “The fact that we didn’t see that is quite surprising.”

This year, experts were predicting record turnout numbers, but total turnout fell short of 2018 by four points, with roughly 4,281,000 people voting and a 51.1% turnout.

“My hypothesis for why that might of happened is that voters were feeling fairly confident that their candidate would win or that their vote wouldn’t matter,” Nichols said. “The state has been reliably Republican.”

In 2018, midterm election turnout was the highest it had been in two decades, with
4,496,834 ballots cast and a 55.72% turnout. And although Tuesday’s election didn’t see quiet that high of a turnout, it was a busier-than-usual day at the polls. Typically, midterm elections in Ohio bring out around 40% of registered voters to the polls.

“In the final analysis in the votes cast, this was a big election for a midterm,” Nichols said. “A lot of people came out and there was a lot of enthusiasm as measured by total votes, fundraising, the ads and that sort of thing.”