With 8 days still to go before election day, pre-election votes have now surpassed the total number of early votes cast in 2016. According to CNN, almost 60 million early votes have been cast, compared to the roughly 58.3 million in the last presidential election.
While it is expected that the high early turnout, especially for voters using mail-in ballots, is due in part to the ongoing pandemic, it remains to be seen how this will impact the vote total for the 2020 election. In 2016 early voting accounted for about 42% of the vote total.
Competitive States Rank High In Early Voting:
Of the early votes that have been cast so far, 54% have come from key battleground areas in the upcoming election. According to CNN the biggest percentage increase in early voting in their 14 most highly-ranked competitive states has come from Minnesota.
Democrats Appear to Lead Early Voting, But Republicans Are Narrowing Gap:
Though it has been widely reported that early voting numbers have favored Democrats thus far, that lead appears to be shrinking in some places now that in-person early voting has opened in more states.
10 days ago, Democratic registrants made up 51% of all the ballots reported, with Republicans trailing at 25%. On Sunday, that had narrowed slightly to 51% and 31%. However, it is important to note that these numbers only tell us how voters are registered, not the candidate they actually support.
In Florida, Democrats are said to account for 43% of early voters so far, while Republicans account for 36%. At this time in 2016, the GOP held a very slim margin in the state.
In North Carolina things sit at around 40% for Democrats compared to 30% for Republicans, but this too is expected to narrow as more Trump supporters go out and vote. Things look similar in Arizona where the numbers sit at 42% to 34% respectively.
Overall Voter Enthusiasm Seems High:
The most interesting thing so far still appears to be the amount of new or infrequent voters who have participated in early voting. According to the Associated Press, this number may be as high as 25% of the total votes cast, and has been attributed to the turnout in places like Georgia, where 26.3% of people are new or infrequent voters and Texas, where the number is even higher at 30.5%.