Four weeks before election day on Nov. 3, more than 3.8 million Americans have already voted, far exceeding the 75,000 registered in the same period in 2016, according to the Elections Project, a source of information that compiles early votes in the US.
The change was driven by an expansion of early voting and correspondence in many states, as a sure way to express electoral choice during the coronavirus pandemic and a desire to decide Trump’s political future, said Michael McDonald, of University of Florida, which manages the project.
“I have never seen such a large number of people vote in advance,” he said.
“People vote when they decide who to do it with, and we know a lot of people decided a long time ago and already have an opinion about Trump,” McDonald added.
This large number of early votes led McDonald to expect a record turnout of about 150 million, which would represent 65% of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.
Biden leads Trump in national opinion polls, although polls conducted in crucial states in the competition between the two indicate a tighter race.
The anticipated votes so far come from 31 states, said McDonald, who added that the number will increase rapidly because more states will begin the process of voting in person. With the exception of six of them, all states allow a certain level of early voting in person.
The turnout at the polls on election day was already steadily declining this year, according to the US Election Assistance Commission.
The total number of early or mail votes has more than doubled, from nearly 25 million in 2004 to 57 million in 2016, the source said. This represents an increase from one in five of the total votes to two in five of the total votes.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the postal vote, making unfounded allegations that it would lead to fraud. Experts say fraud is rare.