Number of early votes cast surpasses early-vote total in 2018 midterm election

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Americans cast more votes before Election Day than in early voting before the last midterm election, and continue to rely more on early voting, despite vocal objections from some Republicans.

More than 39 million ballots were cast by voters on Saturday, according to the United States Elections Project. This year’s total is expected to rise because election officials are still receiving mail-in ballots and some states are allowing in-person early voting over the weekend.

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have attacked early voting, particularly vote-by-mail programs, prompting some Republicans to abandon the practice, which has been in place for decades in some states. A countervailing force seems to have offset that resistance – more opportunities to vote early.

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“We’ve been on a higher early voting trajectory from election to election, and that’s because states are offering early voting more often or more widely,” he said. Michael McDonaldA political scientist at the University of Florida who oversees the election project.

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Early voting has long been on the rise. in 2014 about 31 percent of votes were cast by mail or at early voting locations, McDonald said. In 2018, it increased to approximately 40 percent. He expects early voting to take a larger share this year.

The best comparison this year is to other midterm elections like 2014 and 2018. Early voting is higher in presidential years, both in raw numbers and in terms of total vote share, McDonald said. The role of early voting was particularly prominent in 2020, when fears over the coronavirus forced voters to vote by mail in record numbers. That year, the Americans gave 101.5 million in advance. votes, more than twice as many as in 2016. presidential elections.

Many factors influence changes in voting behavior. After his experience in 2020 more voters are familiar with how to vote earlier and may follow the practice. Others may be more willing to go vote on Election Day because vaccines are widely available. And the arguments made by Trump and his allies against early voting could affect how some voters choose to vote.

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Meanwhile, early voting rules are changing in some places. Unlike in 2018, California, Nevada, Vermont and the District of Columbia are voting by mail only this election, while Michigan and Pennsylvania now offer no-excuse voting by mail.

Other states have tightened their rules. Wisconsin’s Supreme Court banned voting in the state this summer, and Delaware’s Supreme Court last month upheld a lower court’s decision to block no-excuse voting.

This year, some Republicans have urged voters to hold off on voting by mail until the last possible moment, making it difficult to estimate how many early ballots will ultimately be cast. Every election cycle, millions of voters request absentee ballots that are never returned. – because they do not vote, or decide to vote in the voting chamber.

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This cycle, nearly 20 million votes were cast in 19 states that register voters by party identification, which lets you know who is voting early. In those states, 43 percent of early votes so far have gone to registered Democratic voters, 34 percent to Republicans and 23 percent to independent or third-party voters.

The 19 states include Democratic-dominated states like California, heavily Republican states like Oklahoma, and battleground states like Pennsylvania.

Participation in early voting varies by state. Just under 2 million early votes were cast in North Carolina compared to 2018.

In-person early voting in Georgia this fall started well above 2018 and then more in line with the last midterm. A total of 2.5 million were given in person and by mail in Georgia on Saturday. votes compared to 2.1 million in 2018

The Texans gave away 5.5 million in advance. votes compared to 4.9 million in 2018



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