More than 50 million Americans have cast ballots in the presidential election, an early voting expert said Friday, signaling a potential record turnout for the Nov. 3 match between President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden.
According to Michael McDonald of the University of Florida’s election project, at least 51 million people had cast ballots in person or by mail 11 days before election day.
That’s about 21% of all eligible U.S. voters. 137 million votes were cast in the 2016 election, and McDonald and other experts predict that number could be over 150 million this year.
The massive overall early vote gives Republican Trump less leeway to change his mind before the vote ends. Opinion polls show he follows Biden, a Democrat, both nationally and in several battlefield states, who will decide who sits in the White House on January 20, 2021.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 people in the United States and cost millions of their jobs, remains the central issue in voters’ heads.
In a reminder of COVID-19’s accelerated spread as winter approaches, researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation warned that the virus could kill more than half a million people in the United States by the end of February 2021.
With 11 days left until election day, more than 50 million Americans have already voted. Here’s the latest: – Trump goes from debate phase to campaign in Florida – Biden plans to discuss virus strategy in Delaware – We fact checked their debate statements https://t.co/nHFPLvbEpt
– The New York Times (@nytimes) October 23, 2020
They said about 130,000 lives could be saved if everyone wore masks, according to a study published Friday.
Biden, 77, is scheduled for a speech in Delaware Friday to discuss his plans to quell the coronavirus pandemic. Biden said Trump, 74, has confused the answer, saying he will listen to advice from health officials and researchers that Trump often feuds with. Trump has defended his handling of the health crisis, saying the worst was over.
Trump, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early October and spent three nights in the hospital, taunts Biden for his caution.
‘Everything is up’
Trump has often attacked the absenteeism vote, which is rising in the pandemic, as unreliable, and his campaign has opposed states’ efforts to expand a practice that analysts say is as safe as any other method.
Trump himself has voted by mail in previous elections, but plans to vote in person in Florida on Saturday, the White House said. Vice President Mike Pence cast his ballot in Indianapolis Friday morning.
Democrats have so far cast approx. 5 million more votes than Republicans, though their margin has fallen in recent days, according to TargetSmart, a Democratic research firm.
Democratic analysts say they are rejoicing over those numbers, but warn they expect a late rise in Republican votes on election day.
Republican strategists say strong personal turnout in Florida, North Carolina and Iowa gives them hope that Trump can win those battlefield states again this year.
“It’s really, really hard to compare this to anything,” Democratic strategist Steve Schale told reporters. “Everything is up from 2016.”
Americans may find themselves waiting days or weeks to know who won, as election officials count tens of thousands of mail-in votes.
In Texas, a traditional Republican state that has become more competitive, turnout, according to McDonald’s figures, has already reached 71 percent of the 2016 total. It has reached 50 percent in three southern battlefield states: Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.
Electoral officials in battlefield states like Pennsylvania are fighting to minimize the possibility of a disputed outcome.
Focus on Florida
Both candidates have overwhelmed Florida, with a Reuters / Ipsos poll this week showing Biden moving into a small lead after being in a statistical draw a week earlier.
Trump begins his visit to the villages, a scattered retirement center. Trump won voters over 65 by 17 percentage points in 2016, but polls show he is running straight or subsequently Biden with senior voters this year in the state.
In the evening, Trump holds an airport rally in Pensacola in northwest Florida’s strongly Republican handle to urge supporters to vote early. Trump will spend the night in Florida before casting his vote in West Palm Beach.
Former President Barack Obama, with whom Biden served as vice president for eight years, is fighting in Florida on Saturday. Obama debuted on campaign tracks for Biden in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Biden went into the final days of the race with more cash than Trump. The Democrat raised about $ 130 million in the period Oct. 1-14, about three times the about $ 44 million raised by the Trump campaign.