The number of Texans who have cast early votes has already surpassed the total votes cast in the Lone Star state in the 2016 general election, with the Texas joining Hawaii in becoming the first states to hit this milestone.
So far, over 9.7 million Texans have voted, according to the University of Florida’s Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database. In 2016, voter turnout in Texas was 8,969,226, or 78.2 percent of eligible registered voters, according to figures from the Texas secretary of state’s office.
Analysts expect record turnout in this general election. At least 94 million Americans have already cast ballots in person or through the mail, according to the Elections Project, or 68.2 percent of the total 2016 turnout.
Michael McDonald, Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida, said in a statement that he estimates around 100 million early votes will be cast by the time reports are processed on Tuesday.
“It is also likely reports by Tuesday morning will fail to capture all of the pre-election voting activity since there are sporadic reports of election officials experiencing delays in processing the unprecedented number of mail ballots,” he noted, adding, “Furthermore, many states continue to accept mail ballots if they are postmarked on or before Election Day.”
Amid the unprecedented surge in mail-in voting amid the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, both the campaign for President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have readied legal teams in case disputes over counting or excluding ballots end up in court.
Since the 2000 presidential election, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, both Democrats and Republicans have enlisted legal teams to prepare for the possibility that voting wouldn’t settle the contest. But this year, there is a near presumption that legal fights will ensue and that only a definitive outcome is likely to forestall them.
The race for the White House is already taking place under the shadow of some 300 lawsuits filed in dozens of states across the country, many involving changes to normal voting procedures driven by the surge in interest in voting by mail.
While it is impossible to know where, or even if, a problem affecting the ultimate result might arise, existing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Nevada offer some hint of the states most likely to be ground zero in a post-election battle and the kinds of issues that could tie the outcome in knots.
In Pennsylvania, the deadline for receiving and counting absentee ballots is Friday, an extension ordered by the state’s top court. The Supreme Court left that order in place in response to a Republican effort to block it. But several conservative justices indicated they’d be open to taking the issue up after the election, especially if those late-arriving ballots could mean the difference in the state.
“I still can’t figure how counting and verifying absentee ballots is going to go in some of the battleground states like Pennsylvania,” said Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley, an election law expert.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.