In the face of a global pandemic that has so far killed more than 225,000 Americans, early voting turnout was expected to be far higher than normal. In 2020, it turns out that early voting in many places has already surpassed the total votes in 2016. Nationally, early voting turnout has equaled half of the total turnout in 2016, but with six days still left to go.
For now, the early voting numbers overwhelmingly favor Democrats in 16 of 19 states that provide such data. https://t.co/dmYpgKZuc9
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 28, 2020
Voter enthusiasm polls high across both parties, with voters determined to either keep the current president in power or push the country in a new direction with Democrat Joe Biden at the helm. It is historically true, however, that high voter turnout in any election generally favors Democrats, which is one of the reasons Trump and the GOP have worked so hard to suppress voting in 2020.
According to The Washington Post:
‘The massive number, which includes voters who have cast ballots either in person or by mail, has stunned election officials and campaign operatives. It equals roughly half of the total turnout in 2016 — all but ensuring, with early voting continuing through the weekend, that the majority of ballots will be cast before Election Day for the first time in history.
‘The overwhelming demand to vote now — which has led to long lines nationwide — reflects a widespread sense of urgency to chart the country’s course over the next four years, despite the voting challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. And it puts this year’s election on pace for a historic rate of participation not seen since the early 1900s.’
Here's a look at some of jaw-dropping early voting numbers in some of the battleground states, especially in the 18-29 age bracket. https://t.co/mkpegmSdUX
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) October 24, 2020
Generally, motivating Democratic voters and, in particular, younger voters, is a challenge. Voter apathy has stifled Democrats’ ability to lead the country despite the fact that a majority of the country agrees with many of their policies, including universal healthcare and common sense gun laws. In 2020, voters on both sides of the aisle are motivating to participate in this election.
‘“The early vote is showing two things: We’re clearly headed to record-level turnout, nationally and likely in just about every state,” said Tom Bonier, the head of TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm. “And it’s clearly showing us that Democrats are highly engaged and will be themselves setting record levels of turnout.”
‘Bonier emphasized that Republicans are also motivated to vote. “The open question,” he said, “is whether that level of Republican engagement and enthusiasm can match or exceed [that of] Democrats. That’s the part of the equation that we can’t solve until Election Day.”’
The U.S. just hit 100% of total 2016 early voting.
At least 47.1 million have voted nationwide, and there are still 12 days until Election Day. https://t.co/4xyQuyhPNy
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 22, 2020
Most encouraging for Democrats is the influx of new and young voters. While voters aged 18 to 29 generally show a low level of turnout in any election, the 2018 midterms saw them more fully engaged than in previous years. In 2020, those numbers are soaring.
‘A poll of 18- to 29-year-olds released Monday by the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School found that 63 percent of respondents said they would definitely be voting in the election, the highest such measure in the 20 years that the poll has been conducted. The finding was far higher than in 2016, when the same survey found that 47 percent of respondents said they would definitely vote.
‘The poll found that likely voters in the age group favored Biden over Trump 63 percent to 25 percent.’
"There's always some ballots that need to be checked over after the election..there's a certification period that takes place in the weeks after the election, where those ballots are counted. That's completely normal." @ElectProject to @WmBrangham https://t.co/oGvp6mYvBq
— Judy Woodruff (@JudyWoodruff) October 28, 2020