66 million American voters have already cast their ballots in the early voting so far. There is still one week to o for November 03 presidential elections. The early voting has smashed all previous records of early voting. That’s some 19 million more pre-election votes than were cast in the 2016 election.
In most states, people have to wait for hours in long queues to cast early in person vote. Some people are criticizing the local administration for not making proper arrangements to deal with massive early in person voting turnout.
According to the US Elections project, a turnout-tracking database runs by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald. McDonald calculates that nationally, voters have cast more than 48% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election.
We continue to pile on votes at a record pace. We’ve already passed any raw number of early votes in any prior election in U.S. history,” McDonald told NPR on Monday.
“It’s good news, because we were very much concerned about how it would be possible to conduct an election during a pandemic,” he said, citing concerns that mail-in ballots would be returned by voters en masse at the conclusion of the early voting period, overwhelming election officials. “Instead, what appears to be happening is people are voting earlier and increasing the workload for election officials.”
In 2019, McDonald predicted that 150 million people would vote in 2020’s general election, which would be a turnout rate of about 65% — the highest since 1908. “I have increasingly been confident that 150 [million] is probably a lowball estimate,” he said Monday. “I think by the end of the week I’ll be upping that forecast.”
Some states are quickly approaching their 2016 total votes. In Texas, for example, 7.8 million early votes had been cast as of Tuesday morning, marking 87% of the state’s total votes in 2016. Montana, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia have also reached 67% or more of their 2016 vote totals.
Among states that are reporting data, voters have requested 88 million mail ballots, according to McDonald, and roughly 44 million ballots have been returned by mail. Democrats currently hold a roughly 2-to-1 advantage in returned mail-in ballots in states with party registration.
Usually the story for a typical election in recent years has been that the early vote is Democratic and the Election Day vote is Republican,” he said. “And it looks as though we’re going to have the same story this year, and we’re going to have to wait to see what happens with that Election Day vote before we can really say what’s going to happen.”
The youth turnout in early voting has seen significant rise. People ages 18 to 29 are turning out to vote early in a big way. According to data from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE, a research center at Tufts University, the numbers of young people voting early have skyrocketed, particularly in states that will be critical for Biden and Trump to win, such as Michigan, Florida and North Carolina.
As of Oct. 21, 257,720 young voters in Florida had voted, according to CIRCLE. That’s nearly 214,000 more than had voted at that time in 2016.
In Texas, almost 500,000 18- to 29-year-olds had cast their ballots by Oct. 21. However, there isn’t data from 2016 with which to compare youth turnout.
Young people could wield significant political power: Millennials and some members of Generation Z make up 37% of eligible voters, roughly the same share of the electorate that baby boomers and older voters (“pre-boomers”) make up, according to census data analysed by the Brookings institution.
For decades, youth voters have showed up to the polls at relatively low rates, a statistic voter education center has been working to change this year.
In most states, election officials can begin processing that deluge of ballots in the weeks before Election Day. But in a handful of states, election workers can’t begin the work of opening envelopes, verifying signatures and removing secrecy sleeves, let alone counting, until the day of the election.
In swing states where the margins of victory are likely to be close, those rules may mean it takes hours or days after the polls close before a winner is declared.
State law in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, for example, does not allow election officials to process or count ballots until Election Day. Michigan election workers can begin processing ballots a day in advance, but they can’t be tabulated until Nov. 3.
Some states and counties have purchased new technology or bolstered staffing to help tackle the huge number of mail ballots more efficiently. District of Columbia, Kansas, South Dakota, Virginia and Utah may begin processing before Election Day as needed to expedite counting absentee ballots. Ohio may begin processing before the time for counting ballots.
Counting dates for Hawaii, Kansas, and Kentucky start after all ballots are processed. Counting dates not specified for Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nevada and Utah. Counting dates vary in Connecticut by locality.
While President Trump has baselessly sown doubts about mail voting and warned of a national crisis should the result not be decided on election night, election experts say delays in no way suggest a problem with the integrity of the vote.
“If we don’t have results at 9 or 10 p.m. on election night, that doesn’t mean there’s anything nefarious going on,” Rachel Rodriguez, an election official in Wisconsin, told NPR’s Miles Parks. “It doesn’t mean that there’s any sort of conspiracy. It doesn’t even mean that there’s a problem. It just means that clerks are still trying to count ballots and they are trying to make sure that everybody’s votes are counted.”
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