Voter apathy? Not his year. Election ballots are already pouring in and by all indications it will continue that way. Many Americans are heading out to vote early as concerns about the coronavirus pandemic linger. The data from the U.S. Elections Project shows just how eager voters are to have their voices heard. In fact, current voting tallies are smashing the numbers from four years ago.
As of Thursday morning, more than 13 million votes have been cast, compared to only 2 million at an equivalent point in 2016. The number of early ballots is already approaching 10% of the total national turnout of voters in the 2016 election. With just under 3 weeks to go until Election Day, 10 states are already surpassing 20% of their 2016 voter turnout including Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, New Jersey, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In Georgia, a record 128,000 voters turned out to the polls on Monday for the first day of early voting. This figure is 40,000 more than the first day of early voting in the 2016 election.
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who leads the U.S. Elections Project reports that Democrats are leading the early surge in voting but cautions not to read to much into it yet. “Yes, the numbers are very good for Biden. The campaign has to be pleased since they can leverage the banked voters to more efficiently re-target their supporters who have not voted yet. However, it is very likely Republicans will show up in force to vote in-person,” McDonald wrote on the U.S. Elections Project website.
Voters in Georgia and Texas faced extremely long lines, as in-person voting got underway earlier in the week. North Carolina, a key swing state, begins in-person early voting today and lines are expected there as well.
It looks like a lot of early votes are being cast. Now, about counting and reporting them… Stay tuned.