With the U.S. presidential election coming up in less than a week, some voters in the contested states have already made their decision by submitting their ballots early.
Many voters have opted for early voting, either by postal vote or by voting in person at local polling stations. President Donald Trump has denounced the postal vote as a vehicle for potential voter fraud and expressed concern that the final vote count could not be made public until days after the election.
However, both Trump and the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden cast early votes. Both candidates hope to win voters in swing states like Arizona and Florida, where a political party has not yet built a solid base.
Arizona has recorded 1,980,689 early votes so far. Democrats have cast 787,173 of these votes, while Republicans have recorded 704,549 ballots. Arizona makes no distinction between postal voting and local early voting.
Trump is expected to hold two campaign meetings in Arizona on Tuesday. Biden last visited the state in early October. Real Clear Politics’ survey averages show a close race between the two, with Biden having a small lead over Trump at 48.4 percent. Trump holds 46.2 percent of voter support.
In Florida, Trump’s adopted state, 41.1 percent of Democrats voted early, either in person or by mail, while 37.5 percent of Republicans have already cast their vote. Between the personal early voting and the ballots received by mail, 6,921,358 early votes were received by state election officials. The voting average gives Trump a slight advantage in Florida. Trump has 48.2 percent of voter support, while Biden is just behind with 47.8 percent.
In Pennsylvania, the Democrats have already cast 1,354,624 votes, while the Republicans have only cast 426,431 early votes. Taking into account the number of voters who did not claim party affiliation, a total of 1,978,486 postal ballots were returned in Pennsylvania.
Trump mocked Biden’s energy policies during the Pennsylvania campaign breaks and drew attention to Biden’s alleged opposition to fracking, a major industry in Pennsylvania. Biden has denied these allegations. Despite Trump’s statements, he lags behind Biden on average in the state polls. Biden holds 49.6 percent of voter support, while Trump has 45.8 percent.
By Tuesday, 8,188,246 voters in Texas had already voted either by mail or in person. Michigan accepted 2,338,417 absentee ballots out of 3,135,338,338 requested ballots.
Trump leads Biden in Texas with 2.6 percent and 48 percent support in the polls. Biden holds 45.4 percent. In Michigan, where Trump has sharply criticized Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Biden leads with almost 9 percentage points. Biden holds 50.4 percent of the support, while Trump has 41.8 percent.
Postal voting has proven to be a more popular method of early voting in Wisconsin than personal voting. While 413,183 people went to a polling station to cast their vote, 1,132,393 voters returned their ballots by mail.
During a campaign rally on Thursday, Trump emphasized his government’s role in suppressing demonstrations in Kenosha against racism and police brutality. “We sent in the National Guard and we saved Kenosha,” Trump said.
According to the poll average, Biden has supported 50.3 percent of Wisconsin’s voters, while Trump is behind with 43.9 percent.
In Iowa, 815,921 ballots were returned. Almost half of these were from registered Democrats, who returned 396,357 postal votes. Republicans returned 262,562 postal ballots.
Some observers consider Iowa a “toss-up” state. Biden is expected to campaign in Iowa on Friday. According to the poll average of the political website FiveThirtyEight, Biden has a small lead over Trump with 47.7 percent. Trump has 46.1 percent in the polls, bringing the difference between the two candidates to 1.6 percent.
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Minnesota counts all pre-election ballots, whether they were submitted by mail or in person, equally. By Friday, 1,186,522 Minnesota voters had already cast their votes.
Although Minnesota has not cast any votes for a Republican candidate since 1972, Trump lost the state by only 1.5 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s campaign has purchased over $1 million in ads that are expected to run in Minnesota in the final days before the election.
According to Real Clear Politics, Biden has a comfortable lead over Trump in the Minnesota polls. Biden has 48 percent of voter support, while Trump holds 42 percent.
Over 75 million people in the U.S. have participated in some form of early voting, according to the U.S. Election Project.