Record Early Voting And What It Means


WASHINGTON (AP) – A record 103.2 million people voted early in this year’s presidential election.

The number represents 74.3% of the total turnout in the 2016 election. A tally by The Associated Press shows that early voting in several states, including Texas and Arizona, exceeded the total vote from four years ago. In Kentucky, nearly 13 times more voters did so early this year than in 2016.

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WHY?

Some people wanted to avoid long lines and crowds at polling stations to protect themselves from the new coronavirus. Others liked how convenient it is to vote by mail or deposit their votes in official collection boxes. Many entities also changed regulations to facilitate voting by mail or at early voting centers. Some were simply eager to vote in the contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Each state offers the opportunity to vote early, some by mail, some in person, and some more with both options. When those votes are processed and counted varies from state to state. Some are counted before Election Day, on the day of voting when polling stations open or close, or once the elections are over.

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

High early voting numbers could mean it could take longer to see the results. Some states allow pollsters to start counting early votes early. But in some of the states without clear electoral preference they are not allowed that, or have limited time to do so, which will delay the count.

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