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Early voting could hit record-smashing 100 million by Election Day

NBC News logo NBC News 10/26/2020 Allan Smith
a group of people walking down the street in front of a crowd © Provided by NBC News

With eight days to go until Election Day, 62 million voters have cast ballots early, surpassing the total number in 2016 by more than 12 million, according to NBC News Decision Desk/Target Smart.

The number of early voters could hit 90 million to 100 million before Nov. 3 — about twice the 50 million who voted early in 2016, the Decision Desks projects. TargetSmart is a Democratic political data firm that provides voting data to NBC News.

In critical swing states, expanded early voting and vote-by-mail options have led to a large increase in pre-election voting. In battleground Pennsylvania, about 1.4 million people have cast early or absentee votes so far, an increase of more than 1.2 million from all of the early votes cast there in 2016.

The narrative is echoed in swing states Michigan and Wisconsin, where this year's early voting totals have already nearly doubled the total of early votes cast in all of 2016. President Donald Trump's narrow victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin allowed him to win the White House in 2016.

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Meanwhile, other in-play states, like Texas, Georgia and Ohio, have already surpassed the total numbers of early votes cast in the last cycle. In Texas, where more than 6.9 million people have already voted, there has been an increase of about 1.4 million votes compared to 2016. More than 40 percent of the state's electorate has already cast their ballots.

In North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arizona — which have all been hotly contested — more voters have cast early ballots than the total who voted there for Trump or for Hillary Clinton last time around.

Polling has shown that the early vote has broken overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, while Trump maintains a substantial advantage among those who have yet to vote.

Polling released Sunday by CBS News/YouGov showed that in Florida, 61 percent of those who already voted backed Biden, while 37 percent backed Trump. In North Carolina, the division was 61 percent to 36 percent, while in Georgia it was 55 percent to 43 percent.

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On the flip side, those who have yet to vote in those states backed Trump over Biden by 59 percent to 40 percent in Florida, 58 percent to 41 percent in North Carolina and 54 percent to 44 percent in Georgia.

A University of Wisconsin Elections Research Center/YouGov poll of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin released Monday showed similar trends. Biden was overwhelmingly winning among those who already voted, while Trump held a substantial but somewhat smaller advantage among those who had yet to vote.

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