One Week to Go—Here’s the Scoop on Early Voting Data, as of This Morning

To put the following information in perspective: the total number of votes cast in 2016 was about 129 million. To be precise, 128,838,342.

Moreover, generally speaking, the higher the turnout, the more accurate the pre-election polls turn out to be.

With these thoughts in mind, here is how matters stand as of an hour ago, according to NPR:

With one week still remaining until Election Day, Americans have already cast a record-breaking 66 million early ballots, putting the 2020 election on track for historic levels of voter turnout.

That’s some 19 million more pre-election votes than were cast in the 2016 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database run by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald.

McDonald calculates that nationally, voters have cast more than 48% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election. 

“We continue to pile on votes at a record pace. We’ve already passed any raw number of early votes in any prior election in U.S. history,” McDonald told NPR on Monday.

“It’s good news, because we were very much concerned about how it would be possible to conduct an election during a pandemic,” he said, citing concerns that mail-in ballots would be returned by voters en masse at the conclusion of the early voting period, overwhelming election officials. “Instead, what appears to be happening is people are voting earlier and spreading out the workload for election officials.”

In 2019, McDonald predicted that 150 million people would vote in 2020’s general election, which would be a turnout rate of about 65% — the highest since 1908.

But he’s going back to the drawing board. 

“I have increasingly been confident that 150 [million] is probably a lowball estimate,” he said Monday. “I think by the end of the week I’ll be upping that forecast.”