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'Something Special' Is Happening With Early Voting

'Unprecedented' numbers are coming out to cast their ballots ahead of Nov. 6
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2018 10:20 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Michael J Reilly)

(Newser) – There's still a little less than a week left before Election Day proper, but the number of early votes already in exceeds the entire nationwide total of such votes from 2014. NBC News reports that 24,024,621 early or absentee votes were cast as of Wednesday in the states that allow for them, while six days out from Election Day in 2014, that figure was just shy of 13 million. The total early voting count in 2014 came out to 21,218,015. The balance between voter party affiliation has also shifted, though just slightly: In 2016 at this time, 43% of early voters were Democrats, 40% were Republicans; now, GOP voters are making up 43% of the early birds, while Dems claim 41%. CNN's own analysis of a handful of seven critical states finds that women and older voters are performing their civic duty earlier in greater numbers in those states.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 18 states are already seeing early-voting numbers exceed their previous ones, and four states (Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada) are on track to surpass their total voting tallies before Election Day even gets here. "Something special is going on right now," a University of Florida political scientist notes. "The numbers we're seeing are unprecedented." He adds that if this pace keeps up, it's possible that total midterm voter participation could exceed 50%—a feat that hasn't been seen since the 1914 election. The Times notes that such an impressive turnout is useful for gauging interest in a particular election, but as for whether "a wave" is coming from either side on Nov. 6, the paper offers this: "Sorry, can't say." (Just days before the 2016 election, Trump urged early voters in four states to change their votes.)

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