In Record Pre-Poll Voting, 100 Mn Voters Cast Ballots Early in US
The massive early voting numbers certainly paints a picture of a high level of enthusiasm for voting this year.
Even before polls for the US presidential elections opened on Tuesday, 3 November, approximately a 100 million Americans voted in the country, CNN reported. The 100.2 million ballots makes up 73 percent of the total ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election, the report further said.
This number reportedly represents more than 47 percent of registered voters across the United States.
More than half the registered voters in 21 states as well as Washington, DC have cast ballots already. For states like North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee, the pre-election vote represents at least 90 percent of their 2016 total vote.
Pre-Poll Voting Crosses Two-Thirds of 2016 Total
As of Sunday, pre-election voting for polls had crossed two-thirds of all ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election, represents more than 43 percent of registered voters nationwide, according to the CNN report.
According to a report by The Guardian, Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the US Elections Project, said 93,131,017 people had voted as of Sunday.
The surge to vote early has led to predictions that this election could see a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65 percent of eligible voters. This would be the highest rate since 1908, says a report by Reuters.
CNN also reported that as of Friday, Texas and Hawaii have already surpassed their total turnouts from the 2016 general election.
According to the report by The Guardian, early voting includes both in-person votes and mail-in and absentee ballots. As of Sunday afternoon, there have been 34,004,455 in-person votes, 59,126,562 mailed ballots returned to the election authorities, while there are still 32,084,041 outstanding mail ballots.
The surge in these comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced election authorities to extend their early voting period and offer mail-in ballots more widely than before.
When Will States Count These Ballots?
According to a CNN report, most states start processing absentee ballots prior to Election Day. Processing involves verifying signatures, checking photocopies of identification documents etc. In some states, processing could mean scanning ballots, but not tabulating them until counting is allowed to begin.
But in the crucial battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, officials cannot start processing early ballots until on or just before Election Day.
This opens up the possibility of not just delaying the results of their primary states, but also leave hanging the presidential race over their Electoral College votes.
The CNN report says that in Michigan, some big cities could start processing their ballots on 2 November, but officials have warned that complete tallies will possibly not be available till 6 November.
In addition, Alabama and Mississippi also only begin to process absentee ballots until Election Day.
Meanwhile, in states such as Arizona, ballots were being counted as of 20 October. In Nevada too, officials began counting absentee ballots on 19 October, CNBC reports.
(With inputs from CNN, CNBC, Reuters and The Guardian.)
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