Experts predict that a record 150 million votes could be cast and that turnout rates could be the highest in more than a century.
More of 17 million of Americans have already cast their vote in the 2020 presidential election, a record avalanche of votes that responds to both Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has transformed the way the nation votes.
The total represents the 12% of all votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even though eight states have yet to report their totals and voters still have more than two weeks to cast your vote. Americans’ rush to vote leads election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes could be cast and that turnout rates could be higher than in any other presidential election since 1908.
Taking into account that the United States, the vote is not mandatory and the presence at the polls is always scarce, the number of 150 million is surprising, although not very significant when compared to the largest democracy on the planet. India, where 900 million people vote.
“It’s crazy,” said Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who has long tracked voting on his ElectProject.org site. McDonald’s analysis shows that they have voted approximately 10 times more people than at this point in 2016.
“We can be sure that this will be a high turnout election“McDonald said.
So far participation has been asymmetric, while Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the 42 states included in The Associated Press tally.
Republicans have been bracing for this early Democratic lead for months, as they watched President Donald Trump criticize vote-by-mail ballots and raise unfounded concerns about fraud.
Polls, and now early voting, indicate that this discourse has alienated his party’s rank and file from a voting method that they traditionally dominated in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
That gives the Democrats a tactical advantage in the final stretch of the campaign. In many highly contested states, Democrats have secured a share of their voters and can devote their time and money to voters. infrequent that are harder to find.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Democrats are going to have a vote advantage when the ballots are counted. Both parties foresee an increase in votes Republicans on Election Day that, in a matter of hours, could change drastically the dynamics.
“Republican numbers they will rebound“said John Couvillon, a Republican pollster who is tracking early voting.” The question is how fast and when. “
Couvillon said Democrats can’t sit back with their vote lead, but Republicans are making a risky bet. A number of factors, from the increase in coronavirus infections until the weather, may affect face-to-face participation on election day. “Put all your trust in one day voting is a very high risk, “Couvillon said.
So, despite Trump’s speech, his campaign team and his party encourage their own voters to vote by mail or in advance and in person. The campaign team, which has been sending volunteers and staff to the streets for months despite the pandemic, says this year has registered more voters than Democrats in key swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania, which means a radical change relative to the usual pattern when a presidential election looms.
But it has had limited success in promoting vote-by-mail. In key swing states, Republicans are very less interested in voting by mail.
In Pennsylvania, more than three-quarters of the more than 437,000 ballots mailed so far come from Democratic voters. In Florida, half of all ballots mailed so far have come from Democrats and less than a third of them from Republicans. Even in Colorado, a state where every voter receives a ballot by mail and Republicans typically dominate the first week of voting, only 19% of ballots returned have been Republicans.
“This is all encouraging, but three weeks it’s a lifetime“said Democratic data strategist Tom Bonier of the early voting numbers.” We may be in the middle of the first quarter and the Democrats have put a couple of points on the board. “