US election 2020: near 100 million early votes

As millions of Americans line up to vote for the next president on Tuesday, more than 99 million Americans have already cast their vote through early voting.

This far surpasses the total number of early ballots cast in the 2016 election, in which 138 million Americans voted overall.

The surge in early votes could indicate a high – possibly record – turnout for this year’s election. The increase has been driven at least in part by concerns over visiting polling stations in person during the coronavirus pandemic.

The eve of election day was packed with rallies; US President Donald Trump visited four battlegrounds states Monday — North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden spent his day in Pennsylvania supported by former president Barack Obama, who made stops in Florida and Ohio.

Turnout has hovered around the 60% mark in recent presidential elections. In 2016, it was 58.1% of the country’s voting-eligible population.

This year, the largest number of early votes were cast in the states of California (12 million), Texas (9.7 million) and Florida (8.9 million). Polls have shown that Democrats favour postal ballots more than Republicans, which could bode well for Biden.