More Than 22 Million Americans Have Already Cast Their Vote

More than 22 million Americans have already cast their vote in the 2020 election, a record rush of early votes fueled by enthusiasm from Democrats and a pandemic that has transformed the way America votes.

The 22.2 million ballots that had been delivered as of Friday night represent 16% of all votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even though eight states have yet to report their totals and voters are still just over two weeks old. for vote. Given the pace at which Americans are voting, election experts predict that a record 150 million votes could be cast in these elections, and that turnout rates could be higher than in any other presidential election since 1908.

“It’s crazy,” said Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who has long maintained a voter registry for his ElectProject.org website. McDonald’s analysis shows that as of today, about 10 times more people have voted compared to the 2016 election.

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“We can be sure that these will be a high turnout election,” McDonald said.

So far the turnout has been higher on the side of Democrats, who have outnumbered Republicans 2 to 1 in the 42 states included in the Associated Press count. Republicans have been snapping up the idea of ​​this increased early Democratic turnout for months, after seeing President Donald Trump criticize mail voting and raising unfounded fears about electoral fraud. Polls, and now early voting, suggest that such rhetoric has discouraged Republican supporters from participating in a voting method that used to dominate in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

That gives Democrats a strategic advantage down the stretch of the campaign. In many highly contested and electorally critical states, Democrats already have a “lock-in” vote for a portion of their supporters and are able to devote their time and money to voters who often do not participate and are more difficult to encourage.

But that does not necessarily mean that Democrats will have a greater number of votes by the time the ballots are counted. Both parties anticipate a large number of Republican votes on Election Day that could, in a matter of hours, change the dynamics drastically.

“The Republican numbers are going to go up,” said John Couvillon, a Republican pollster who is tracking early voting. “The question is at what speed and when.”

Couvillon said Democrats can’t be confident in their preliminary lead, but Republicans are making a big bet. Several factors, from the increase in coronavirus infections to the weather, can affect in-person participation on Election Day. “If you put all your faith in a voting day, it’s a very high risk,” Couvillon said.

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