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Early voting: A surge in ballot requests has already set records in the United States

Overall, the total number of pre-election ballots to be distributed already exceeds the approximately 50 million pre-election ballots cast in 2016, although not all ballots will be returned.

Change has accelerated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and encouragement from Democrats.

Demands from registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 1.3 million requests to vote among the most competitive states on CNN currently reporting that data. However, many ballot papers in the mail will likely not be returned and requests do not predict election results.

In the critical state of North Carolina, absentee voting requests exceeded one million on Wednesday. At this point in the 201

6 cycle, only about 85,000 voters had requested a vote, according to the North Carolina State Electoral Council.

Democrats make up about 49% of absentee voting requests in Tar Heel State, but they only account for about 36% of the state’s registered voters.

Florida data tells a similar story, where nearly 4.9 million registered voters active in the Sun State have already called for absentee votes for the general election.

Democrats in the state make up about 46% of those who have asked to vote so far, but they represent only 37% of active registered voters. By comparison, Republicans comprise more than 31% of voting applicants, but more than 35% of active registered voters.

Republicans could close that gap on election day. In recent CNN polls, 57% of President Donald Trump’s supporters in North Carolina and 83% of those in Wisconsin said they wanted to vote in person on November 3, compared to just 22% of Democratic candidate Joe’s supporters. Biden in North Carolina and 28% in Wisconsin.

Half a million ballots already voted

Nationally, more than half a million ballots have already been cast in the 12 reporting states, including nearly 200,000 from North Carolina and more than 3,000 from Florida as of Thursday.

About two dozen states have now initiated absentee voting or in-person early voting, which means more data on involvement and turnout is available.

CNN will track this information on election day and post regular updates.

Records already set

Fifteen states surveyed have already received more absentee voting requests than the total pre-election votes cast in 2016.

In Pennsylvania, where mail-order votes are now available to all voters upon request, there were nearly 2.2 million requests to vote on Thursday, about eight times more than just over 286,000 votes cast before the election. 2016.

The Ohio Secretary of State announced this week that more than 1,784,000 absentee ballot requests have been received by local electoral councils. This is more than double the number received over the same period in 2016.

“One of the main reasons Ohio is considered the national leader in absentee voting is because we have been doing it this way for nearly two decades,” Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a statement earlier in the press. this week. “You get good at something when you train and Ohio has shown they are ready for the game.”

Nearly a dozen states changed their rules this year to expand mail-order voting by all voters due to the coronavirus pandemic. Four states and Washington, DC have moved to a mostly mail-order election, in which all eligible voters are automatically sent an unsolicited vote.

Michigan’s nearly 2.4 million requests to vote so far are “more than ever,” according to the state office secretary. They are already four times more in demand than at this point four years ago.

“Michigan has already held three successful elections this year, and we are on track to see more success and record turnout in the general election,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Thursday in a statement. “Voters can safely and securely vote for absentee from home, in advance at their local employee’s office or at their polling station on election day.”

Trump won the State of Wolverine with fewer than 11,000 votes in 2016. Michigan voters passed a voting measure in 2018 to ensure any registered voter can vote for absent.

In Wisconsin, where Trump and Biden made their latest appearances, more than 1.1 million voters have already asked for absentee ballots as of Thursday. That’s more than the total number of Wisconsin voters who voted before election day, by mail or in person, in 2016.

“The elections are well underway at this point,” Wisconsin Election Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe said Thursday. “With 1.1 million absentee ballots already inserted in the system, that represents almost a third of the turnout we normally see in upcoming elections.”

CNN’s Lauren Peller and Bob Ortega contributed to this report.

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