Early voting for 2020 election surpasses total 2016 early ballots

With eight days to go, 58.6 million election ballots have already been cast across the U.S.

The early rush of mail-in voting spurned by the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more Americans voting early this year than who voted early or absentee in the 2016 election. 

With eight days to go, Associated Press is reporting that 58.6 million ballots have already been cast, overshadowing the 58 million early-vote total in 2016. 

Thousands of New Yorkers, including these people waiting outside of the Brooklyn Museum, came out to support their candidate for president and other offices as early voting began on Saturday. Officials nationwide are trying to ensure that the voting process is both safe and efficient amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Many voters are hoping to avoid crowds and long lines amid the pandemic. The pivotal election has prompted locations like sports facilities and even museums to open for voters to cast their ballots. 

The AP is reporting that most initial balloting skews Democratic, but Republicans are closing the gap. 

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that mail-in voting could be “rigged,” sparking concern that older members of the Republican Party would not vote by mail and would stay home. 

Reports are showing that as of Sunday, 31 percent of mail-in votes were cast by Republicans, compared to 51 percent cast by Democrats. 

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“This is a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty situation,” John Couvillon, a Republican pollster who tracks early voting closely, told AP. “They’re showing up more,” he noted about Democratic voters. “Republicans need to rapidly narrow that gap.”

Voting by mail has been effective in several Republican-leaning states like Utah. However, many pundits fear that Trump’s many statements asserting that mail-in voting is “rigged” may have crippled an essential element of his campaign in its final days. 

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“Democrats did a much better job than us to get voters to use absentee ballots,” Dave Millage, chairman of the Scott County Republican Party in Iowa, told POLITICO

“To successfully implement it the way it should be implemented takes five years,” said Alabama’s Republican Secretary of State John Merrill. ”Not five months, five years.”

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Merrill recently won a Supreme Court judgement that ruled his state does not have to provide curbside voting for disabled voters. 

Republican analysts are encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting and mail-in voting, but one analyst opined that if the Republican National Committee is encouraging voters to vote by mail, and Trump’s Twitter account is saying the process is fraudulent, “the Twitter account is going to win every time.”

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