These 4 States Have Already Set Early Voting Records With 3 Weeks Till Election

Early voting is underway in a number of states ahead of Election Day and four states—Georgia, Texas, Ohio and Illinois—have already set records outpacing voter turnout in 2016.

With less than three weeks before November 3, more than 13.8 million voters have already cast their ballots for this year's upcoming general election, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project. This same time four years ago, the number of ballots already cast was much closer to 1.4 million.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, health and safety concerns coupled by the efforts of some Democrats to expand mail-in voting have led to unprecedented levels of early voting.

Georgia and Texas, which both began early voting this week, set records on their first days as thousands of residents waited hours to cast their ballots.

Voters in Georgia reported on social media that lines at polling sites were lasting nearly ten hours on the state's first day of early voting. Georgia's secretary of state's office said more than 128,000 Georgians hit the polls on Monday, surpassing the nearly 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016.

Texas also shattered records for the state's first day of early voting before polls even closed on Tuesday.

Harris County officials announced that by the time voting sites closed for the night, more than 128,000 residents had voted across the county. Nine hours into the first day of early voting, the state surpassed the previous record set in 2016 when 100,005 people cast their vote on the last day of early voting.

Records from Texas' secretary of state's office currently shows that more than 900,000 ballots have been cast in the state's early voting, surpassing the 394,280 votes cast on the first day of early voting in the 2016 election cycle.

Georgia Early Voting
People wait in line on the first day of early voting for the general election at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center on October 12, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia shattered early voting records on Monday as thousands waited hours to cast their ballots ahead of November's election. Jessica McGowan/Stringer

In Ohio, early in-person voting tripled the state's voter turnout four years ago. According to Ohio's secretary of state, more than 193,000 Ohioans voted in the first week of early voting, which began on October 6, compared to the roughly 64,000 ballots cast at the same time as in 2016.

State officials in Illinois also announced that the state shattered previous records for advance voting with more than 600,000 ballots already cast.

On Tuesday, the Illinois State Board of Elections said on its website that nearly 176,000 voters had cast ballots at in-person early voting sites—a number roughly double that of early in-person votes cast at the same point in 2016.

The U.S. Elections Project, created by University of Florida associate professor Dr. Michael McDonald, aims to "provide timely and accurate election statistics, electoral laws, research reports, and other useful information regarding the United States electoral system."

According to McDonald, voting pace in Virginia, Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin has already reached 20 percent or greater than their 2016 total vote.

However, he has also warned in his weekly analyses that these votes have been heavily Democratic, which may misleadingly show Democratic nominee Joe Biden to have secured the presidency.

"Even if the in-person early vote is more Republican than usual, I still expect Democrats to dominate the sum of the mail and in-person early votes because of the lopsided numbers of Democrats voting by mail," McDonald wrote. "Election Day should be bright ruby-red, and we'll see where the balance tilts when all is said and done."

Newsweek reached out to McDonald for comment but did not hear back before publication.

These 4 States Have Already Set Early Voting Records With 3 Weeks Till Election | News