4 days before ‘Election Day,’ 82 million ballots already cast

Advance voting continues to set records in Florida, Georgia, U.S

People wait in line to vote outside of an early voting site in Miami Beach.
People wait in line to vote outside of an early voting site in Miami Beach. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Four days before Election Day, far people have cast ballots in this year’s presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race.

The opening of early voting locations in Florida, Texas and elsewhere last week has piled millions of new votes on top of record numbers of mail ballots arriving at election offices as voters try to avoid crowded places on Nov. 3 during the coronavirus pandemic.

By early Thursday morning, 82 million ballots are cast so far, with 53.6 million by mail and more than 28.3 million in person. That’s 53% of the registered voters in the United States.

Democrats have continued to dominate the initial balloting, but Republicans are narrowing the gap. GOP voters have begun to show up at early in-person voting, a sign that many heeded President Donald Trump’s unfounded warnings about mail-voting fraud.

Two weeks ago, Democrats registrants had cast 51% of all ballots reported, compared with 25% from Republicans. By Friday morning, Democrats still had a smaller lead: 46.8% to GOP’s 29.7 of the vote as in-person votes begin to make up a bigger share of the turnout than mail ballots. More than 23% of the votes so far come from voters not affiliated with either party.

The advance vote totals are an imperfect indicator of whether President Donald Trump or Vice President Joe Biden may have more votes at this point. The data only shows party registration, not which candidate voters support.

Ballots submitted or voted in states that have already opened in-person early voting represent nearly 49% of all registered voters and more than 57% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, according to the United States Election Project.

Florida had received nearly 77% of the total votes cast in 2016 and Georgia has already seen 82% of its total turnout four years ago.

Americans' rush to vote is leading election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes may be cast and turnout rates could be higher than in any presidential election since 1908.

For the turnout in every county in Florida, visit the Florida Division of Elections’ website.

Floridians voting by mail in recent elections

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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