More than 100 million Americans voted early in 2020
More than 100 million Americans voted early in the 2020 election across the U.S., according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.
Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.
By the numbers: 100,978,567 Americans voted early, whether in person or by mail.
- Hawaii (110.6%),Texas (108.3%), Washington (105.4%), Oregon (104.8%), Montana (102.4%), and Colorado (101%) all surpassed 2016's total turnout via early voting.
Other states that amassed a huge portion of their 2016 totals include:
- New Mexico: 98%
- Utah: 97.6%
- Nevada: 96.7%
- North Carolina: 95.4%
- Florida: 94.7%
- Georgia: 93.9%
- Arizona: 92.9%
- Tennessee: 89.6%
- New jersey: 88.7%
The other side: Some key battleground states are lagging behind the frontrunners. Pennsylvania, for example, only reached 40.7% of its 2016 total turnout — but this is the first general election for which the state has implemented no-excuse absentee balloting. Historically, only about 5% of Pennsylvanians have voted by mail.
Other key battlegrounds and their current early turnout against 2016 totals:
- Wisconsin: 64.7%
- Iowa: 60.5%
- Michigan 58.3%
- Ohio: 53.5%
Worth noting: Mail-in ballots face deadlines. While some states only require that ballots be postmarked by or shortly before Election Day, others require ballots to be received by election officials on Tuesday.
- Swing states Florida and Wisconsin, for example, require mail-in ballots to be received by 7 and 8 p.m., respectively, on Election Day.
- But the Supreme Court recently shut down Republican attempts to trim mail-in deadlines in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
- Many states also can't begin counting their mail-in ballots until Election Day, which is likely to cause a backlog in results — and could shift results in Biden's favor as more get counted in the following days.
Between the lines: Experts say it is essentially impossible to read anything into 2020's unprecedented turnout at the current moment.
- While high-turnout elections traditionally favor Democrats, the pandemic's effects have caused traditional models to be cast aside — making it difficult to draw any conclusions about the possible outcome of the election from these historic numbers.
Go deeper: When and how to vote in all 50 states
Note: The turnout figures cited in this article were last updated with the early vote numbers at 2 p.m. on Nov. 3.