The state of Texas has already had nearly as many voters cast ballots in the 2020 election than in the all of the 2016 election.
This year’s election is still five days away.
Throughout the country, lines have formed at early voting centers to cast a ballot in next week’s election. According to the US Elections Project maintained by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, more than 80 million voters have already submitted a ballot. Millions more are expect to vote between now and Election Day.
In Texas, the number of early votes equals 95% of the total ballots cast in 2016. Part of what has driven the vote in Texas is for the first time in the 21st century, Texas is considered a battleground in the presidential election. In Travis County, which is where Austin and University of Texas is located, more voters have cast ballots there than in the 2016 election.
Who is winning the early vote?
According to a CNN poll released on Wednesday, Joe Biden is leading among those who have already voted by a 64-34 margin. Other national polls have similarly showed Biden leading early voting by up to a 2-to-1 margin.
The challenge for Trump will be to make-up ground on Election Day. The same CNN poll showed Trump leading 59-36 among those who plan on voting on Election Day. Trump will need a strong Election Day turnout in order to overcome the lead Biden has likely established in early voting. Things like weather, daycare, illnesses, work and other factors that keep people from voting on Election Day could play against Trump on Election Day.
While the news out of Texas may be discouraging for Trump, Pennsylvania and Ohio, two other key battleground states, have not seen nearly as much early voting as Texas. In Ohio, the early vote equals 43.8% of the total 2016 vote. In Pennsylvania, the early vote equals 34.3% of the 2016 vote.
Similarly to Texas, Georgia, which has been a traditional GOP stronghold in recent decades, is a battleground state in 2020. There, the number of early voters equals 82% of the 2016 count.
How votes will be tallied on Election Day
Each state will release early voting numbers differently, and with such stark differences in how Trump and Biden voters are casting ballots, the numbers could have significant swings.
In Pennsylvania, the early vote is expected to come in last after all ballots counted on Election Day are tallied. That means Pennsylvania will likely show a significant lead for Trump on Election Night, with the former vice president trying to make up ground. Some counties have said they will not even start counting the early vote until the day after the election.
In close states that release the early vote first, Biden will likely amass a huge lead that will slowly evaporate throughout the night. For states that will wait to count the early vote, Trump will likely hold a huge initial lead.
Election Night projections might take longer this year to account for how various states are counting the vote.