“Last night felt like Christmas Eve,” according to one voter who showed up just as his polling place first opened.
“It’s crazy,” is how a political scientist put it.
Early-voting data reported this week — and quotes like the ones above from The Washington Post and Associated Press — reveal that the combination of voter enthusiasm and the coronavirus pandemic is adding some unprecedented metrics to the 2020 election.
Over 17 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 race, representing “a record-setting avalanche” that is “leading election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes may be cast,” the Associated Press reported on Friday:
The total represents 12% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even as eight states are not yet reporting their totals and voters still have more than two weeks to cast ballots. ”
In a feature on Wednesday detailing its early-voting data, The Wall Street Journal noted that more than 2 million voters had cast ballots at polling places and 12.5 million early votes were mail ballots. The publication added that rules surrounding mail voting are already the subject of numerous legal battles, including one before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As for November:
Election officials already talk about ‘Election Week’ rather than ‘Election Day’ and urge voters to see a lengthy count in close contests as normal.”
In its report on Wednesday, however, The Washington Post did note the potential for some clarity on election night — just 18 days away:
If the presidential race boils down to Pennsylvania … there is little chance a result will be available on Nov. 3, since tabulation of mail ballots may not begin until that morning, and ballots may arrive as late as Nov. 6. Election officers in Philadelphia were still counting mail ballots two weeks after the state’s June primary.
Yet some potentially pivotal results are expected shortly after polls close, according to a Post analysis of early vote totals and state rules governing mail balloting. Thanks to surges in early and absentee voting, looser rules for processing and counting mail ballots, and active preparation by election officials, voters in critical states such as Florida and North Carolina can expect to see advanced results on election night, if everything goes to plan.”
Avalanche of Early Votes Transforming 2020 Election [The Associated Press]
Across the Country, Democratic Enthusiasm Is Propelling an Enormous Wave of Early Voting [The Washington Post]
Mail Balloting Is Fueling Historic Early Voting in the 2020 Election [The Wall Street Journal]
Jeremy Barker is the director of content marketing for Breaking Media. Please feel free to email him with questions or comments and to connect on LinkedIn.