Democrats are seeing an early advantage over Republicans heading into Election Day as a surge in absentee ballots cast in states across the country signals that the Democratic vote-by-mail focus is turning out regular and new voters alike.
More than 6 million Americans have already voted in 27 states for November’s general election, The Hill reports, citing data released by states that have begun accepting ballots.
According to the data, “registered Democrats have returned 1.4 million ballots, more than twice the 653,000 ballots registered Republicans have returned so far, according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who analyzes early voting.”
About two-thirds of voters who have already voted — 3.7 million Americans — are either unaffiliated with either party or live in states that do not register voters by party. Demographic modeling by one prominent Democratic firm, TargetSmart, estimates that almost 3 million of all votes cast have come from Democratic voters, compared to about 2.1 million from Republicans.
McDonald’s data shows that more people are voting by mail this year than in years past, highlighting the fact that the coronavirus pandemic and Democratic efforts to get their most hardened supporters to vote by mail has led to an explosion in the early vote.
“At this point in the 2016 presidential contest, only around 750,000 people had voted, about 13 percent of the number of voters who have cast a ballot this year. In Wisconsin, South Dakota and Virginia, early votes account for more than one-fifth of the total number of votes cast in the entire 2016 election,” the data shows.
“So far this year, women, college-educated white voters, African Americans and Hispanic voters account for larger shares of the electorate than they did in 2016, a hopeful sign for former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads substantially among those groups.”