It’s Tuesday, November 3, and environmentalists are flocking to the polls.

Take a deep breath. It’s Election Day.

Almost 100 million Americans cast their votes early in one of the most consequential elections in a generation. One group in particular has turned out in droves: voters who care a whole lot about climate and the environment.

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According to data from the nonpartisan Environmental Voter Project, almost 580,000 ballots already cast in key swing states have come from first-time or infrequent voters likely to identify climate or the environment as their number one election priority.

In Florida alone, 198,000 previously disengaged environmentalists have voted; Trump won that state in 2016 by around 131,000 votes. In Pennsylvania, which Trump won by 44,000 votes, more than 51,000 environmentalists who rarely or never vote have already turned out.

“These numbers are starting to get too big to ignore,” said Nathaniel Stinnett, the Environmental Voter Project’s founder and director (and a member of the 2016 Grist 50). “It’s the cresting of a green wave.”

The group maintains a database of voters who, based on polling and modeling, it considers likely to put the environment or climate change as their top priority — but who neglect to vote in most elections. Volunteers drop off flyers, send text messages, or knock on doors, encouraging people to vote without ever mentioning the environment.

“If we start showing up,” Stinnett said, “it will be impossible to stop the climate movement.”

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Shannon Osaka

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The Smog

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Emily Pontecorvo