US Presidential Elections: Americans Voting Early in Record Numbers
By Staff, Agencies
Americans are voting early in record numbers with more than 17 million casting their ballots already ahead of the November 3 presidential election between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump.
While the result of the White House race will not be known until the Election Day, the early vote indications appear to favor the 77-year-old Biden, who has a double-digit lead over Trump in the national polls.
Iowa, the midwestern state where the 74-year-old Trump held a campaign rally on Wednesday, is among the states which allow voters to cast their ballots early.
Early voting began in Iowa on October 5. As of Thursday, more than 325,000 ballots have been cast in the Hawkeye State, according to the US Elections Project of the University of Florida.
The US Elections Project maintains a running tally of the number of in-person early votes and returned mail ballots. By Thursday morning a total of 17.36 million ballots had been cast in the states that report early totals, it said.
Election experts point to the coronavirus pandemic and an expansion of voting by mail for the spike in early voting this year, which is smashing previous totals.
Trump frequently denounces voting by mail as being rife for fraud, but there has been no evidence of widespread irregularities in past elections.
Michael McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida who runs the US Elections Project, said that while the early voting numbers bode well for Biden there could be heavy turnout for Trump on Election Day.
Several polls have shown that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to vote early because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I've warned that the heavily Democratic voting at this point should not be an indicator that Biden has the election shown up," McDonald said. "Yes, the numbers are very good for Biden.
"However, it is very likely Republicans will show up in force to vote in-person," he said.