By: Nathaniel E. Ballantyne
Early voters turnout is leading election experts to predict that more than 150 million votes could be cast by November 3, the largest voters turnout in a generation. So far, nearly 22.3 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 presidential election. This avalanche of early votes is driven by a Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has forced state officials to change how the nation votes without putting people at risk of contracting the coronavirus. The mail-in ballot makes it easier for people to vote and undoubtedly increases the number of Democratic voters.
The 22.3 million ballots submitted represent 16% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election. About eight states with early voting have yet to report their totals, and voters still have nearly three weeks to cast ballots. So far, things aren’t looking good for Trump. In the 42 states that have reported voters turnout, Democrats are outvoting Republicans by a ratio of 2-1. Down ballot Republicans have been bracing themselves for this early Democratic advantage for months, as they’ve watched President Donald Trump rail against mail-in ballots and raise unfounded worries about fraud.
Early voting and voting by mail give Democrats a tactical advantage in battleground states such as Florida and Arizona, and possibly Texas. In these critical states, Democrats have already banked a chunk of their usual voters and can turn their time and resources toward finding more infrequent voters.
No one knows for sure what will happen by the time the ballots are counted. The Democrats’ early surge does not necessarily mean Democrats will lead in votes count. It is possible that Republicans may see a surge on November 3. But if you are a Republican candidate, you must be concerned because by the time the ballots are counted, Democrats might be so far ahead that it could be nearly impossible for Trump and down ballots Republicans to make the difference. Several things could happen that could affect turnout on Election Day. First, a spike in coronavirus infection could change everything. In a way, Republicans are taking a huge gamble by hoping that their voters will come out on November 3.
Equally, Democrats should not simply rely on early voting lead because several factors, from rising virus infections to the weather, could impact in-person turnout on Election Day. Despite Trump’s rhetoric about mail-in votes, his campaign and the Republican party are encouraging their voters to cast ballots by mail or vote early in-person.