U.S early ballots hit 90 million on Friday
• Trump, Biden ‘Square Up’ in battleground states
• 60% of votes already cast, four days to Election Day
• California, Nevada, New Jersey expand vote-by-mail option
Four days to Election Day, the number of early votes for Tuesday’s Presidential Election in the United States has hit 90 million, with 53 million ballots coming as drop-box mail votes.
Of the 240 million U.S eligible voters, experts estimate a 158 million turnout in this year’s crucial elections.
In what appears a strong motivation for change, over 20 million more Americans are expected to vote in 2020 than in 2016.
Speaking to a handful of international journalists on integrity of the 2020 election, as it relates to mail-in voting, Executive Director and Founder, Centre for Election Innovation and Research at Washington DC, David Becker, said, “Most people are returning those (mail) ballots much earlier than expected.”
At the ongoing 2020 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar virtually taking place in Florida, The Guardian, on Friday, gathered that more than 90 million people would have cast their ballots in early votes by Saturday morning.
“There are great numbers of early voting, representing more than 60 percent of expected votes. This is the highest in America’s history”, said Becker.
Becker disclosed that a “great number of voters are using this method of returning their ballots in-person. With the window still open until Sunday, more than 53 million “good ballots” have already been recorded from mail-in voters as at 4pm on Friday.
“We do not see high turnout of voters to keep things the same,” Becker said, expecting the final numbers to favour Biden.
“It is very rare to see high turnout election where people are saying, “Please keep things as they are,” he concluded.
According to Becker, the U.S. has been doing mail voting in the last 200 years. He said that the only difference was the move to expand the process across states as a result of the pandemic. He specifically noted that California, with the highest voting numbers in the U.S., was already becoming a mail voting state before the new campaign.
Explaining that some states, like Washington DC and Colorado, do send mail ballots to citizens on every election event, even without official request, Becker wondered how vote-by-mail became such a huge controversy.He blamed President Trump for politically stirring the hornet’s nest in his criticism of the process amid COVID-19 concerns.
Although all swing states — including Ohio that was won by President Trump in 2016 — have been deploying mail voting, New Jersey, Nevada and California, states were expanding the process this year.
“ Higher turnout and greater enthusiasm usually leads to Change,” Christian Ulvert, the Democratic Strategist and Founder/President, EDGE Communications LLC, Miami, Florida told The Guardian, in response to question asked virtually at the 2020 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar on Friday. He said that Florida had a “big boost in return for vote-by-mail. According to him, “Republicans used to benefit from this; but, with Trump criticising it, Democrats are now reaping it.
“What is right is now left and what is left is now right,” Ulvert said, in explanation of how demographic change and politics of convenience has blurred the lines of political ideologies in America’s social architecture.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a pair of decisions on Wednesday, said it would allow election officials to accept ballots after Election Day in two key battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, a development welcomed by both Democrats and Republicans.
In the case of Pennsylvania, the court jettisoned a request from Pennsylvania Republicans that it should decide before Election Day whether the state could continue counting absentee ballots for three days after Nov. 3.
In the North Carolina case, the apex court upheld a lower court ruling that permitted the state’s board of elections to extend the deadline to nine days after Election Day, up from the three days called for by state legislators.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court on Tuesday, said she did not take part in either case. A court spokeswoman said Justice Barrett said she had not participated “because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings.”
Both Trump and Biden locked horns in Florida Thursday, where Biden still has a narrow edge over the President in latest polls. Trump had abruptly canceled his North Carolina rally, citing bad weather.
Democrats braced on Thursday and had to contend with what came up as cheery news for the Republicans: A new report showing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of about seven per cent in the third quarter, or 30 percent on an annualised basis would have made Trump proud at the Tampa-Florida rally.
Trump was campaigning in Tampa just hours before Biden was set to appear at a rally across town. He spent only 10 minutes on the economy and referred to the increase as the “biggest event in business” of the last 50 years.
He quickly moved on, mocking Republicans who advised him to focus on his economic record, instead of lashing out at enemies and harping on the issue of Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
By polling averages, Biden still has a small edge in Florida, but a huge turnout on Election Day by Trump supporters could offset his expected advantage from mail-in ballots.