Early Voting and Mail Ballot Turnout Trends Point to 2020 Replay

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Nationwide early voting and vote-by-mail turnout trends for the 2022 midterm election reflect a pattern similar to that of the pandemic-skewered 2020 election.

As a result, it may take several days after polls close on Nov. 8 for results to be confirmed in several key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

In-person early voting periods and vote-by-mail have grown increasingly popular over the last two decades. They became mainstream during the 2020 election when more than 101 million Americans cast early in-person votes or vote-by-mail ballots.

The 2022 early vote and vote-by-mail turnout is expected to easily eclipse the record for midterm elections set in 2018, when more than 5 million voters cast early in-person ballots and 30.4 million voted by mail. The totals this year may come close to matching the number of ballots cast before Election Day in 2020.

According to the University of Florida’s United States Elections Project, as of Oct. 23, more than 7.46 million Americans have already cast their midterm ballots.

Turnout

Of those 7.46 million ballots, nearly 1.65 million were cast in-person in the 27 states where early voting is under way. Early voting periods range from four to 45 days before Election Day.

By week’s end, another 18 states will open polls for in-person early voting, beginning with seven states on Oct. 24—including Florida, Texas, Colorado—and ending with New York and New Jersey on Oct. 29.

More than 5.8 million mail ballots of 41.52 million requested nationwide have been returned to local election offices as of Oct. 23, according to U.S. Elections Project. All 50 states offer voting by mail, or absentee ballot options. Nine states, including California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Jersey, send mail ballots to all registered voters.

Not all states break down early votes and mailed votes by political affiliation when posting turnout figures. In Kansas, North Carolina, and New Mexico,  138,406 Democrats (40.5 percent) and 112,047 (32.8 percent) Republicans voted early in-person.

By John Haughey

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