The United States is still eight days away from the Election Day and voters have crossed early voting numbers of 2016 presidential elections. The numbers reinforce expert’s predictions that the turnout this year will be the highest since 1908. The pandemic is not stopping people from exercising their voting rights. A large proportion of new and infrequent voters are joining the fray.
Democrats continue to dominate the race in the election. Their dominance is plagued by a constant fear that Republicans may anytime fight back as the final day of voting comes closer. This is because a large number of Republicans are firm on their resolve to vote in person. They aim to validate their leader’s theory of fraud in the mail-in ballot system.
There is a reason for Republicans to be cautious too. In-person voting requires voters to queue up for hours to cast their ballots. Things could mess up for Republicans in the last moment.
Early voting pattern
Till now, 58.6 million voters have cast their ballots which has crossed the 58 million mark of the 2016 presidential election. The ballots include both mail-in and in-person votes.
Political analysts have predicted the casting of more than 150 million ballots this year. Their prediction is duly supported by a large number of new and infrequent voters. 25% of the ballots in this election is cast by such voters. This surge signals the enthusiasm about the election.
The demography of new voters has an interesting pattern. An analysis by Associated Press says that these voters are relatively young and most of them are non-Whites. These signs are an indicator of change.
Trump swept easy victory in Georgia and Texas the last election. The two states have a large proportion of new and infrequent voters this election. In Georgia, 26% and in Texas 30% voters belong to this category.
The Democratic dominance
Democrats have so far maintained their initial lead in voting. But the gap between the voting percentage of Democrats and Republicans has started shrinking. Republicans are catching them up.
On October 15, 51% of total ballots were cast by Democrat registrants in comparison to 25% of Republicans registrants. On Sunday, the percentage of Democrats remained 51% but Republicans sprang up to 30%.
Democrats have particularly resorted to the mail-in ballot voting system. They see it as a safer mode of voting in the time of the pandemic. In Florida, Democrats have outvoted Republicans by a margin of 596,000 in mail-in ballot voting.
The early dominance of Democrats, however, has a certain degree of uncertainty. The party registrants should not be confused with party voters. A Democrat registrant can opt to vote for a Republican candidate. There is another trick to Democrats as well. Initial vote counting starts from swing states such as Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. Democrats do not have a clear lead in these states. They fear that Trump may declare early victory as the counting proceeds.
Republicans catching up
Republican voters stick by their leader’s words. They are avoiding mail-in ballots. They are trailing behind in mail-in ballot voting in most of the states.
Republican campaign managers are trying hard to catch up Democrats through early in-person voting. In Florida, where they heavily trail behind Republicans in mail-in voting, they lead in-person voting by a margin of 230,000 votes. The situation is similar in other states as well.
Their efforts have not yielded much. Democratic data analyst, Tom Bonier, said that Republican National Committee is trying to persuade their voters to cast early ballots but Trump has declared it a fraud on Twitter. He said with delight, that Trump’s message proved out to be more effective.
The delay in Republicans balloting has a strategic disadvantage for them. Early voting allows Democrats to channel their resources in a more targeted way. Republicans are facing resource crunch at the moment. Their task is made tougher with delayed voting of Republicans.