Early voting patterns

For those political junkies who love data, this website maintains updated totals of early voting state by state, along with weekly analyses of the trends. As of today, over 35 million people have voted early. (I dropped mine in the ballot box in my local city hall yesterday.) To get a sense of scale, this is about 25% of the total number of votes cast in the 2016 election, which was about 138,800,000.

I had thought massive early voting was a new phenomenon this year largely triggered by the pandemic but was surprised to learn that in 2016 too, early voting was at record levels, with about 40% of the votes cast early. But the rate of early voting is much greater this year than at this point in time in 2016, when only about six million votes had been cast.

The analysis of the votes so far reveal that Democrats have requested more early ballots and returned them than Republicans but that does not really tell us much since we cannot tell if early voting is really just time-shifting of votes that would have otherwise been cast on election day or whether they are new votes.

Seth Meyers provides an update on recent developments.

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