US: Early voting records smashed amid enthusiasm wave

Early voting records smashed amid enthusiasm wave
Pensioners queuing to vote in Indiana earlier this month. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: State election officials across the United States are reporting record numbers of early voting as voters casting their ballots ahead of election day on 3 November.

According to the US Election Project, more than 22m Americans had voted early by Friday, either in person or by mail.

At the same point in the last election, about 6m votes had been cast.

Experts say the surge in early voting correlates to the current Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused many people to seek alternatives to election day voting.

Texas, a state that has relatively tight restrictions on who can qualify for postal voting, set a record on Tuesday for most ballots cast on the first day of early voting.

Officials in Georgia reported 126,876 votes cast on Monday, the Columbus Day federal holiday – also a state record.

More than 2.3m postal ballots have been requested in Ohio, a crucial swing state. The numbers are double the figure in 2016.

Reports suggest that registered Democrats have so far outvoted registered Republicans – casting more than double the number of ballots. And of these early voting Democrats, black Americans and women are voting in particularly high numbers. Some are motivated by dislike for President Trump, while others have been energised by racial justice protests throughout the summer following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

But this early advantage does not mean that the Democratic Party can already claim victory. Republicans say Democrats may win the early vote, but that Republicans will show up in large numbers on election day. President Donald Trump, a Republican, claims postal voting is vulnerable to fraud.

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