In some place’s voter suppression efforts are already in being done….
And Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden in most places while those votes are being casted….
We’re still a day away from the first presidential debate, but nearly a million people have already cast their ballots. Over 944,000 people have either returned their mail ballot or voted early in-person through Sunday, according to data compiled by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald for his site U.S. Elections Project.
The number represents a small portion of how many people will ultimately vote — it is 0.7 percent of the 2016 general election turnout — but with some crucial battlegrounds having not yet even sent out mail ballots yet, that number is expected to balloon soon enough. (And the number of people who have actually voted is likely higher: It doesn’t include ballots that are in transit, and not every state updates their voter data daily.)
In terms of raw number of voters, the current leader is Virginia, where just over 284,000 voters have already made their selection. But two critical swing states have also seen more than 200,000 voters already make their picks: North Carolina (247,000) and Wisconsin (213,000). That’d equate to 5.2 percent and 7.2 percent of 2016 turnout in each state, respectively. (The state with the highest percentage of 2016 turnout is South Dakota, at a whopping 9.5 percent.)
North Carolina also releases a lot more data than some other states on its mail ballots, giving us an interesting look into who is requesting (and returning) ballots. Nearly 1.1 million ballots have been requested, with Democrats absolutely swamping Republicans in both requests and returns. Democrats have requested just under 522,000 ballots, while Republicans have requested 194,000 (the remainder is either independent voters or those registered to a minor party). Democratic voters are not just returning ballots at a higher raw number — 133,000 to 40,000 — but as a higher percentage as well, with 25.5 percent of Democratic voters who requested a ballot having already sent it back, versus 20.8 percent of Republicans.
One concerning datapoint: Black voters are getting their ballots marked deficient (in North Carolina, voters can cure their ballots) at a higher rate than white voters. The overall ballot rejection rate across the state is 1.7 percent. But for Black voters, there’s a 4.3 percent rejection rate, compared to 1.1 percent for white voters…..