The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have,” Thomas Cizauskas

October 15, 2020; Texas Tribune

Whatever we feel about this year’s election, it appears fewer people than usual will sit it out. On the first day of early voting this year, with the election still a little more than two weeks away, Texas saw 11.3 percent of registered voters in Texas’s 10 largest counties cast their votes, with most of those ballots being cast in person. Almost 60 percent of that state’s registered voters reside in those 10 counties.

In-person voting started a week early this year on October 13, and it will run through October 30, but mail-in ballots have already been pouring in. In Florida, more than 2 million voters have already mailed their ballots. In all, 17.8 million have already voted either in person or by mail. This amounts to 13 percent of all of those who voted in 2016.

Michael McDonald of the United States Elections Project estimates that as many as 40 million people will already have voted by the end of next week.

“This is a completely different election than anything we’ve seen in the past,” says McDonald, who notes that most of the votes to date have been by mail. “The numbers are off the charts.”

In many locations, the early votes will help cut down on any delays on Election Night, though some states’ counting rules may still cause some. Do we trust that this will make a difference? It certainly won’t hurt.—Ruth McCambridge