October 23, 2020; Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune reports that all across that state, where early voting started 11 days ago, records for early voting are being shattered. In fact, as of four days ago, and with a week left to go, 6.4 million people or 37.6 percent of all those registered, have voted, with almost 90 percent of that representing people who voted onsite.
The degree to which this phenomenon will lessen the number of voters who turn up at the polls on Election Day has yet to be seen. Those in the business of predicting numbers say anywhere between 10 and 12 million votes will have been cast in Texas when the polls close on November 3rd. Back in 1992, 72.9 percent of those who were registered to vote in the presidential election did so, which set a record. The number of registered voters has doubled since then; still, if 12 million do vote in the early voting/Election Day combo, the 2020 Texas voting rate will set a new high bar.
Given those numbers in just one (albeit very large and populous) state, it’s no surprise that the Guardian is reporting that by early yesterday morning, 60 million Americans overall had voted. “The pandemic is part of it, particularly for older voters,” said Dr. Larry Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “I’m pushing 70 myself, and it has to be a part of your calculations, we’re kind of vulnerable.”
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But to me, that doesn’t explain the lines. People really have bought into the understanding that if this isn’t the most important election we’ve ever had, it’s one of several. People are determined to express themselves, and we all know why: Donald Trump. That includes his base: the cult is going to support the cult leader. But there are more, maybe quite a bit more, who want to end this nightmare. And that’s the way people put it. If you don’t like the word, I’m sorry—that’s just the way it is.
One third of the votes cast as of yesterday morning came from California, Texas, and Florida. Early voting in New York started Saturday, and lines stretched around the block. One million people voted there on that first day, and there is a good chance that the turnout will be the biggest in a century.
However, it’s still a question whether this will favor one candidate or another. Pundits caution that in the 2016 election, early voting was seen to favor Hillary Clinton. Some believe that even if the early votes favor Joe Biden, which is no sure thing, Republican voting may surge on election day. In other words, the nonprofit job of getting out the vote will continue through to the closing bell.—Ruth McCambridge