More than 21 million votes have already been cast in the 2020 election — with Democrats far outpacing Republicans.
Early voting records have been set in numerous states across the country, including Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia — critical contests that could decide the outcome of the 2020 election.
The massive surge in early voting is thanks in part to the expansion of voting by mail this cycle — an effort to make voting safer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it is also a sign of massive voter enthusiasm.
And the early voting trends so far are a bad sign for Donald Trump.
First, Democrats are far outpacing Republicans in the vote, a sign of Democratic enthusiasm.
An Associated Press analysis of the early vote shows Democrats are outpacing Republicans in early voting by a 2-to-1 ratio.
The more than 21.3 million ballots that have already been cast for the 2020 election, according to the U.S. Election Project, come at a point in the race when Trump trails Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the polls by more than 10 points. That amounts to nearly 16% of the total votes cast in the 2016 election, and could make Trump's challenge of turning around his fortunes that much harder.
And the surge of early votes are coming in states Trump needs to win.
In Georgia — a state that is considered a toss-up in 2020 despite not voting for a Democratic nominee for president in nearly 20 years — more than 1.12 million votes have already been cast. That includes a record-setting 128,000 votes on the first day of early voting, which smashed the previous record of 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016.
Texas — a state that has not voted for a Democratic nominee since 1976 — set an early voting record on the first day of voting, with 128,186 ballots cast, according to the Wall Street Journal. That's nearly double the 67,741 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016.
Counting absentee ballots, more than 2.4 million people in Texas have already voted, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
In North Carolina, another critical toss-up state that Trump needs to win, voters set a record for early in-person votes cast in a single day, the State Board of Elections announced. On Thursday, the first day of early in-person voting, more than 333,000 people cast ballots — beating the previous record of 304,000 ballots cast on Nov. 4, 2016.
Republicans are expected to turn out on Election Day, especially after Trump scared the GOP base into avoiding mail-in ballots.
But waiting to cast votes all in one day is a perilous strategy, one GOP operative told the Associated Press.
"If you're putting all your faith into one day of voting, that's really high risk," John Couvillon, a GOP pollster, told the AP.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.