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Voting booths at the University of South Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

With just days left until the midterm elections, 26 states have already surpassed the total number of early votes cast in the 2014 midterm election, per Elect Project's Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who's tracking these returns.

Why it matters: While we don't know which party is benefiting from early voting, the numbers show an undeniable enthusiasm surge among voters in this year's election — and many states could have participation numbers closer to a presidential election.

What to watch: States like Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Wisconsin and West Virginia all have competitive Senate races this cycle.

  • The other states include Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia, all of which have either an important Senate, House, or gubernatorial race, sometimes all three.

The biggest early voting differences:

  • Texas, where 4.3 million have already voted compared to 2 million total early votes in the last midterm election.
  • Tennessee, where over 1.3 million people have already voted. In 2014, the total was 634,000 early votes.
  • Florida voters have already cast more than 4 million votes, compared to 3.1 million.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.