As nationwide voting got underway, fears of getting the virus do not seem to be suppressing the drive to vote in person.
More than 100 million Americans cast their ballots before polls opened Tuesday morning, shattering early voting records and likely reducing election day headaches like long lines and voting machine malfunctions. The 2020 race could see the highest voter turnout in US history, all depending on how many people turn out to vote on Tuesday.
The coronavirus pandemic has driven many more Democrats to vote early, many of them choosing to submit mail-in ballots rather than vote in person. Republicans meanwhile are counting on a large in-person turnout on Election Day itself.
While the outbreak is hitting again nationwide, the virus is spreading more rapidly in many hotly contested states, including Florida, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin, according to data from ABC News and Johns Hopkins University.
Pennsylvania, a battleground state that had both candidates visit during the final campaign weekend, broke its single-day new case record this week with over 2,700 cases reported. In Wisconsin, over 150,000 new cases were reported in just two months, nearly doubling all Covid-19 cases seen from March to August.
In Florida, a state crucial for a Republican win, more than 4,651 cases of the coronavirus were reported Monday making its average weekly positivity rate the 35th-highest in the country.
As nationwide voting got underway, fears of getting the virus do not seem to be suppressing the drive to vote in person. A Trump’s campaign official suggested that if anything, fear of the pandemic could work to the Republicans advantage.
With many eyes on Florida, Melania Trump arrived to vote in Palm Beach on Tuesday morning where over nine million people have already voted.
Joe Biden currently holds a narrow lead over Trump according to a Quinnipiac poll published just before Election Day, but Florida Democrats had a similar lead in 2016, and Trump still won the state.
Early voting in Florida nearly match the entire 9.5 million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.
As of Monday, 61 per cent of registered Republicans have already voted in Florida, compared to 60.6 per cent of Democrats, giving Joe Biden a small advantage in raw numbers, but there is still much to watch on election day.
The Sunshine State has voted for the winner in all but one presidential election since 1964, and no Republican has won the presidency without Florida in nearly 100 years.
As of now, Florida maintains its toss-up status and the outcome is still very much up in the air.
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