Over 975,000 Americans have already voted in the 2020 election, several times the number that voted early in 2016, with the vast majority being cast by Democrats, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald, who runs the U.S. Elections Project, wrote in a blog post on Sunday that “at least 944,114 people have voted in the 2020 general election,” though early voting information isn’t available for every state. That number has since risen to 975,175, as of Monday morning.
“Nearly a million voters this far in advance of an election has never occurred in any American election. Period,” McDonald notes.
McDonald attributes the dramatic increase to three specific factors: recent changes to state voting laws, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has caused a surge in mail-in ballots, and increased voter interest in this election. Because of the recent changes to voting laws, McDonald says it’s basically impossible to compare the current situation to 2016.
“A number of folks have asked me to make comparisons to the same point in time as 2016,” he writes. “This is simply impossible in some states, since there literally is no comparison since at this comparable point in time in 2016, so few people had cast early votes that states did not bother to release any data.”
McDonald concludes, “There is evidence in 2020 early voting data that supports those who are most intensely paying attention to politics, and who have already made up their minds, are those casting early votes ... Academic studies consistently find a very strong correlation between age and attentiveness to politics. Typically, younger voters start casting their ballots in greater numbers as Election Day nears. I do not know if this pattern will happen this year, but I strongly suspect it will.”
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