Democrats are building a big lead with mail-in and early voting, but Republicans could dominate the vote on Election Day

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Democrats currently hold a substantial advantage in the early mail-in ballots cast so far and the United States could  be on track for record voter turnout this year, but that doesn’t mean the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is guaranteed a win on Election day.

Nineteen days out from the election, all states have begun sending out mail ballots to voters who requested them, and in-person early voting is underway in 25 states.

As of Thursday, October 15, 17.8 million voters have voted by mail or early in-person in 40 states and the District of Columbia, according to a database maintained by the US Elections Project at the University of Florida, a rate that far exceeds the number of ballots cast at the same point in the 2016 cycle. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most US states have expanded either voting by mail, in-person early voting, or both.

But shortly after the pandemic exploded in the United States, President Donald Trump and his campaign began waging a public relations and legal battle against voting by mail, falsely claiming that expanded mail voting leads to increased voter fraud and is not secure.

As early as July, public opinion polls and mail ballot request trends indicated that Trump’s rhetoric was having an impact in shaping how the president’s base plans to vote — even in states like Florida, where the state’s expansive vote-by-mail rules have benefited older Republican voters in recent years. 

In the 15 states that are reporting returned mail ballots by party registration, the data compiled by the US Elections Project shows that Democrats requesting mail ballots at higher rates than Republicans and returning their ballots at higher rates. 

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As of Thursday, 56% of mail ballots returned came from registered Democrats, 24% were cast by registered Republicans, and 20% were cast by voters with no party affiliation. 

The swing states that provide a breakdown of mail ballots returned by party registration — Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — all show registered Democrats leading registered Republicans by double-digit margins in mail ballots returned. 

But while the Democrats current lead is a certainly promising start, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the party’s candidates, including Biden, will win big in November.

Because of the sharp partisan divides in how Americans plan to vote, it’s likely that the in-person vote on Election Day will lean Republican and could be extremely lopsided towards Republicans in some areas. A recent national poll conducted by The Economist and YouGov found that 45% of Trump voters plan to vote in-person on Election Day compared to just 18% of Biden voters. 

“With so many Democrats voting by mail, and with Trump supporters listening to him undermine mail ballots, I would not be surprised if the in-person early voting is unusually strong for Republicans,” Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the US Elections Project wrote on Sunday. “Election Day should be bright ruby-red, and we’ll see where the balance tilts when all is said and done.”

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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