The figure reaches the total of early votes cast in 2016 and indicates a possible historic turnout
Early voting in the November 3 presidential election breaks records. With 11 days still to go before the appointment with the polls, more than 50 million Americans have already voted, both in person at already open polling places and by mail, exceeding the total of the votes cast before election day 2016. The figure represents 37% of the total votes finally counted four years ago. Either by the attempt to avoid a possible contagion of the coronavirus or by enthusiasm, the data indicate that the electoral participation on November 3 could be historic.
Of the 50 States of the Union, 19 have public databases that allow knowing the party in which voters are registered. These include key territories such as Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. So far, the anticipated turnout of Democrats in the 19 publicly registered states far exceeds that of Republicans, averaging 50.2% versus 27%.
However, in North Carolina, the margin between voters on both benches who have already cast their ballots has been cut in half since last Monday, according to data analysis company Catalist, with 43% of registered Democrats they have already voted against 27% Republican. In this state, with a history of sometimes voting for Republicans and sometimes for Democrats, nearly 2.5 million citizens have already cast their ballots, which is more than half of all North Carolina’s votes in 2016, and exceeds the number of votes Trump obtained in the territory when he won the presidential election.
In Florida, the largest of the so-called pendulum states, with 29 of the 270 electoral votes that a candidate needs to proclaim himself president, the difference between the early turnout of Democrats and Republicans also begins to narrow as election day approaches, but it is still higher among supporters of candidate Joe Biden (46% vs. 33%).
According to the polls, young people from the southern state are going to the polls en masse. Although it is a demographic group that is traditionally characterized by low turnout, it tends to favor the Democratic Party. For more than a month, Trump has been visiting a Florida city every week for a campaign event. Today the president plans to vote early and in person in West Palm Beach. For his part, former President Barack Obama will host an event in Miami to support his former vice president.
In Texas, a Republican stronghold that this year has become contested terrain, 6.4 million voters have already exercised their right, which is more than two-thirds of the total in previous elections. Based on data from the first 10 days of early voting in the five most populous counties in Texas – which account for 42% of all registered voters – turnout is up 16% from 2016.
Due to the pandemic, most States have relaxed the requirements to vote by mail, without the need to present a justification that they used to ask for. By the end of September, mail-in ballot requests had already exceeded 2016 levels in nearly all territories. The postal service (USPS, for its acronym in English) reported that since September 4 it has delivered 100 million ballots, the figure adds those that it has dispatched to voters at home as well as those that it has sent to electoral offices. USPS Distribution Director Kristin Seaver said Thursday that the agency has given the offices permission to work with the electoral boards in their area and that they decide additional measures to manage the wave of ballots, rather than that the USPS impose them unilaterally on a national scale.
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