Nearly 21 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record of early votes that led to both the Democratic spirit and the epidemic that changed the way the country voted.
With 20.8 million ballots submitted by the states on Friday representing 15 percent of the total votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, eight states have yet to report their amounts and voters still have more than two weeks to cast ballots.
American rush to vote Electoral experts estimate that a record 150 million votes could be cast and that voting rates will be higher than in any presidential election since 1908.
“It’s crazy,” said Michael McDonald, a Florida University political scientist who has long noted voting for his siteElectProject.org. McDonald’s analysis shows that more people voted in 2016 compared to this point.
“We can be sure it will be a high-voting election,” McDonald said.
In the 42 states included in the Associated Press count, voting so far has been lost as Democrats outperformed Republicans by a 2-1 ratio. Republicans have been breaking themselves for months for this early Democratic purpose, as they watched President Donald Trump train against mail-in ballots and raise false concerns about fraud. Polling, and now early voting, indicates that rhetoric has changed the rank of his party and filed away from the voting system, which, traditionally, they dominated in the weeks leading up to election day.
This gives the Democrats a strategic advantage at the end of the campaign. In many critical battlefield states, Democrats have “banked” a portion of their electorate and can turn to voters who rarely find their time and money.
This does not mean that Democrats will be in the lead by the time the ballots are counted. Both parties ate up the prospect of an increase in Republican votes on election day, which could dramatically change the dynamic, in a matter of hours.
“Republican numbers are going up,” said Republican pollster John Cowillon. “The question is at what speed, when?”
Covillan said Democrats can’t rest on their laurels, but Republicans are gambling big. Many factors, from rising virus infections to the weather, influence personal voting on election day. “If you put your faith in voting one day, it’s really a big risk,” Cowillon said.
Hence, despite Trump’s rhetoric, his campaign and party are encouraging their own voters to cast ballots by mail or early and in person. The campaign, which has been sending volunteers and staff into the field for months despite the epidemic, is stepping up voter registration in key swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania – a sharp departure from the general pattern as the presidential election looms.
“All of this is encouraging, but three weeks is a lifetime,” Democratic data strategist Tom Bonnier said of the initial vote count. “We may be in the middle of the first quarter and the Democrats put some points on the board.”
Republicans argue that these signs of excitement are meaningless – they say Democratic early voters are people who vote anyway. Eight per cent of early voters in the AP analysis of early votes had not cast ballots before and 13.8 per cent had voted half or less in the previous election.
Data shows voters have received mail voting, health officials say is the safest way to prevent coronavirus infection when voting. Among early voters, 82 percent cast ballots by mail and 18 percent in person. According to an AP analysis of data from political data firm L2, black voters cast 10 percent of the ballots equal to their share of national voters. This is a sign that voters who are less likely to vote by mail than whites and Latinos are warming to this method.
So far mail ballots have been skewed to older voters, with half coming from voters over the age of 64. Traditionally, young and minority voters cast their mail ballots close to election day or in person.
Mail ballots already returned in many states obscure the entire amount in the early elections. In Wisconsin, five times as many mail ballots were cast as in 2016. North Carolina has almost tripled so far.
Individual early voting began this week in several major states and also broke records, especially in congested, Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas. In Texas, Houston’s Harris County saw a record 125,000 ballots. In Georgia, bells are drawn from election offices across most urban areas in the state.
Tunde Ezekiel, a 39-year-old lawyer and Democrat who voted in Atlanta on Thursday, said he was sure he had a chance of ousting Trump: “I do not know how things are going to turn out on election day.
The apparent enthusiasm among Democrats excited party activists, but they noted that it was difficult to say how the vote would eventually fall. Republicans may be motivated, but defend themselves for election day.
“High voting will benefit both sides,” Bonier said. “It depends.”
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