Given the ongoing threat from the coronavirus, many Americans will not vote in person on election day. Instead, polls show that a much larger proportion of voters intend to post or vote in person early than in previous elections.
For example, in a recent AP / NORC survey, as many as 54 percent said they would vote earlier this year – whether by post or in person. If that happens, it would mean a massive shift from 2016, if right now 40 percent According to the US Election Support Commission, voters voted early.
Historically, voting early is not that important. For example, there is no evidence of a major split among the partisans. Also, there aren’t really big gaps by race that aren’t explained by geographic differences (early voting rules vary by state). By and large, early voting is something that is growing in popularity but still largely depends on where someone lives.
But that could change this year.
Charles Stewart, political scientist at MIT and director of the Election Data and Science Laboratory, told me, “Before 2020, there were differences in the composition of races, or in the use of those differences [voting] The modes depended on where you live, what the options were, and what the campaigns were encouraging people to do. “However, in 2020 he said,” It depends a lot on which party you are in. “
Polls show that Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say they’ll vote early sometimes by up to 31 points. This means that this year, not only is there likely to be a split among the partisans on the ballots that have been cast, but the voting behavior of many non-white voters will also change as this is the case much more democratic as white voters.
This is especially true of black voters, who, according to surveys, now cast an early vote 25 percentage points more often than in 2016.
|Share the vote early in person or by post|
|A total of||57||45||+12|
Granted, the percentage of voters planning to vote early has increased across the board, but the increase among black voters is truly remarkable. In fact, based on the polls we looked at, it is possible that around one and a half times as many black voters will cast an early vote in 2020 compared to 2016. This could possibly be the case make a big difference in the Battlefield states, where we Seeing signs that high proportions of black voters say they will vote early.
However, there are still real questions about how much black voters trust the early voting process. For example, a number of polls have shown that they are black voters more concerned about mailing or postal voting. Studies have also shown that black and Hispanic voters Your postal ballot papers are rejected more often than white voters. And after one Poll in early August According to the Voter Participation Center, two-thirds of black voters in six battlefield states felt that their vote counted more when they vote in person. So there is definitely a tension between how black voters want to vote in “normal” times and what you plan to do in the face of the coronavirus.
Despite these concerns about not voting in person, black voters are likely to significantly increase their voting rate by mail. In fact, our average of the most recent polls suggests that black voters are almost as likely as Hispanic and white voters to vote this fall, although historically they are less likely to vote that way Overview of the performance of American elections. (Instead, black voters were more likely to vote in person early than white or Hispanic voters.)
|Postal voting percentage|
|Race / ethnicity||2020||2016||difference|
|A total of||35||24||+11|
However, Latino voters may be the most likely to vote by mail in 2020, which may have to do with the fact that many Hispanic voters live in states where voting by mail is the norm. In addition, states with large Hispanic populations like Arizona, California and Florida have significantly expanded access to voting by email in the past few years. In fact, nearly half of the country’s Hispanic population lives in states that vote entirely by mail or have a high absentee voting rate.
However, this does not mean that Latino voters are not concerned that their vote will not be counted. Similar to black voters, Latino voters expressed doubts that their votes will be counted if they vote early. Not to mention, despite the expansion of access to postal voting this year, the question of whether Americans still remains will trust the US Postal Service to process their ballot papers because of concerns that the USPS will not be able to cope with the increase in postal ballot volume. This, in turn, could affect the number of voters indeed vote by email at the end.
This leaves the voters with another alternative to cast their vote early: the personal vote before election day. At the moment, however, it doesn’t look like the use of in-person early voting is seeing a huge increase. Recent polls have shown that around a fifth of voters intend to vote in person before election day, which is very similar to the proportion of voters who cast their ballots this way in 2016. There is one exception: Black voters are much more likely than White and Hispanic voters to say they will vote in person early. According to the latest polls, the number of black voters voting in person at the beginning of 2016 has changed by 9 points.
|Percentage of early personal vote|
|Race / ethnicity||2020||2016||difference|
|A total of||22nd||21st||+1|
Part of that is that black voters are only more familiar with early-stage voting in person. About 60 percent of black people in the US live in the south, where early personal consultation is more common. Indeed, for a long time, campaigns in this region have urged voters to start voting initiatives such as “Souls to the electionsThis encourages black churchgoers to vote on the Sunday before the election. Additionally, calls for an early personal vote Democratic leaders like Michelle Obama could also affect black voters’ voting plans this year. Even so, it’s worth noting that Eight states do not offer early face-to-face voting in 2020, including four states with a population of at least 20 percent black: Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
Of course, the way voters want to cast their ballots could change by election day. It is quite clear, however, that the early voting, especially among black voters, will increase sharply. Much of this change appears to be due to an increasing preference for postal voting, although more black voters are also likely to vote early in person. At least we can probably expect far fewer votes to be cast in person on election day.