Texas Beats 2016 Turnout 4 Days Before Election Day

Texas Beats 2016 Turnout 4 Days Before Election Day
People cast their ballots at a polling location in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 13, 2020. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
Petr Svab
More people have already voted in Texas—four days before Election Day—than the total number who voted in the 2016 election. Over 9 million already have voted in the state, compared to slightly under 9 million in 2016, which at the time was a record turnout. The numbers, collected by the U.S. Elections Project, underscore the expectation of a historic turnout this year.

Another state that has already surpassed its 2016 turnout is Hawaii, where more than 450,000 have voted so far. A number of other states are on the trajectory to surpass their 2016 totals before election day.

Montana is above 91 percent of its 2016 turnout; Tennessee is about to reach 90 percent; Washington is at 88 percent; New Mexico is almost at 88 percent; Georgia has nearly reached 87 percent; North Carolina is approaching 86 percent; Oregon, Nevada, and Florida are around 82 percent; and Arizona has broken 80 percent.

“Hawaii and Texas have already exceeded their 2016 total vote in their 2020 early vote alone. More states are on the verge of joining this club,” commented Michael McDonald, associate professor at the University of Florida and head of the U.S. Elections Project, in an email to The Epoch Times.

“This is the definitive point where we know that the early voting is not just a change of when people are voting, but a sign of higher turnout in these states and nationally.”

Almost 90 percent of the Texas votes were cast in person, the rest by mail. Hawaii instituted all-mail elections starting this year, meaning all registered voters are automatically mailed a ballot and everybody votes by mail.

Overall, more than 85 million Americans have already cast their ballots, compared to about 47 million who voted early in 2016.

McDonald has predicted 2020 will surpass the 61.6 percent turnout of the 1952 election, which marked the landslide victory of Republican Dwight Eisenhower.

If his prediction proves true, 2020 would see the largest turnout at least since the 1908 election of Republican Howard Taft, when 65.4 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots.

Democrats lead by a large margin in mail-in voting (15.4 million vs 8 million), while Republicans have an edge, albeit a much smaller one, in early voting in person (4.1 million vs 3.6 million), based on data from 20 states that report party affiliations.

Democrats get a major part of their mail ballot advantage from blue states that have either instituted all-mail elections or have sent mail-in ballots to all registered voters this year.

In California, for example, Democrats have returned nearly 5 million mail ballots, while Republicans only some 2 million.
In the key swing states of Arizona and Florida, however, Democrats’ edge has been shrinking as Election Day approaches and the GOP-preferred in-person votes come in. In Arizona, the margin has dropped to less than 65,000 votes from nearly 100,000 on Oct. 26, according to Data Orbital consulting agency. In Florida, it’s down to some 160,000 from nearly half a million on Oct. 22.
The record number of Americans voting by mail this year is partly due to concerns over the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic and partly because many states have pushed the option as preferable and have made it more convenient.
Voters have been returning their mail-in ballots earlier this year than in previous elections, McDonald previously said, which should ease the burden on election authorities to process the increased volume of ballots.
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.