Efforts to get out the vote by both parties has come up with record numbers of early voters showing up….
An unnerved yet energized America is voting with an urgency never seen before in the approach to a presidential election, as a record 85 million people have cast ballots despite an array of challenges: a pandemic, postal delays, long lines and court rulings that have tested faith in the country’s electoral system.
In Texas and Hawaii, turnout has already exceeded the total vote from 2016, with three days of early voting remaining and more absentee ballots to be returned. Ten other states, including major battlegrounds like Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada, have surpassed 80 percent of the turnout from the last presidential election. Over all, the early turnout has set the country on course to surpass 150 million votes for the first time in history.
The impact of this huge surge in turnout is one of the most unpredictable facets of the election, as strategists in both parties parse early returns for signs of any advantage. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, is counting on a strong early vote to help him flip states like Florida and Arizona that President Trump carried in 2016. But Republicans are banking on their voters to turn out in bigger numbers on Election Day and deliver battleground wins, as they did in key states in 2016.
Though Democrats have maintained an edge in early turnout in nearly every state that has seen record participation, Republicans have been closing the gap. In Florida, for example, 40 percent of the ballots returned came from registered Democrats, and 37.9 percent from registered Republicans, and in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County, registered Republicans are turning out at a slightly higher percentage than Democrats. Included in those returns are millions of ballots marked no party affiliation, with no indication whether Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump is leading.
A recent national poll by The New York Times and Siena College found that Republicans were more likely to vote on Election Day than to vote early, while Democrats showed a preference for voting early. Polls in Georgia, Iowa and other battleground states showed a similar trend…..
image…Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times