More than half of the number of people who voted in the 2016 elections have already cast ballots with a week to go before the 2020 elections, CNBC reports.
Data from the US Elections Project shows that more than 69 million Americans have voted early this year, surpassing any previous early vote total in US history.
By comparison, 58 million people voted early in person or by mail in 2016.
With 69 million votes in, the number has already surpassed 50% of all the 136 million-plus ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.
Pandemic leads to higher turnout:
“There were many concerns about election officials’ ability to conduct an election during a pandemic. Not only are people voting, but they are voting over a longer period of time, thereby spreading out the workload of election officials,” said Michael McDonald, the head of the US Elections Project and a professor at the University of Florida.
More than 30 million requested mail ballots have not yet been returned.
Texas has seen the highest number of early votes, already surpassing 87% of its 2016 turnout.
Millions of voters have also already cast ballots in Florida, North Carolina, and other key swing states.
Dems have an edge:
Party data shows that Democrats lead Republicans in mail voting but Republican voters have outnumbered Democrats at in-person voting locations. Democrats have submitted nearly twice as many mail ballots while Republicans outpace Democrats in in-person ballots 41.7% to 36.9%.
“There is still some play left in the in-person early vote, but time is starting to run short such that Republicans will need to rely heavily on Election Day vote, which has traditionally been a strong day of voting for Republicans in recent elections,” McDonald wrote.
More than 3 million voters under the age of 29 have already voted, outpacing the 2016 totals.
“We’re probably not seeing the greatest impacts of youth vote yet,” Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, told CNBC. “I think you’ll still see that on the Election Day.”