Some states are already receiving a record number of early voters ahead of the midterm election, according to US News & World Report.
Indiana is seeing a presidential election-level turnout, and Minnesota early voters have already exceeded the votes counted for the 2016 presidential election. These huge numbers show that a lot of voters are interested in the upcoming midterms, and those states that don’t have early voting could be swamped at the polls on election day — so make your plans accordingly.
In Georgia, where a gubernatorial race is being closely watched by pundits nationwide, voters are already swarming the polls with three times the numbers seen during the 2014 midterm. Experts think these early waves of voters will lead to a huge spike in voting during the midterms, which officially happen November 6.
“We’re going to have a high turnout,” said University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald, who studies early voters and early voting.
“You’d have to go back to the founding of the country to see presidential turnout rates during midterm elections. In some states, it’s possible, if the trajectory holds up.”
McDonald forecasts a national turnout rate of 45 to 55 percent, which would far outpace the number of voters who participated in the 2014 midterm elections.
“These numbers are just going to continue to really accelerate,” McDonald said.
This is the end of lunchtime early voting line at Sunland Park Mall in El Paso. Never seen more than 3-4 people in line here before. pic.twitter.com/i6dhJh9Lqs— Bob Moore (@BobMooreNews) October 22, 2018
Early voting began on October 10 in Arizona, where 400,000 ballots have already been returned. So far, Republicans have a 12-point lead in these early Arizona returns. Meanwhile, early voting has yet to begin in Kansas, Florida, Maryland, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. When it does, expect to see a surge of people at the polls. Votes for the midterms are already being cast early in 28 states, according to New York Magazine.
There are multiple ways to vote. Some states do not allow early voting, but even in these states, absentee ballots are an option for those who can’t get to the polls in person, according to Vote.org.
So far, the big blue wave has yet to materialize. As of Monday, Democratic votes are outpacing Republican votes only in one state: Nevada. Historically, however, early voting favors senior citizens, who are more likely to place their vote with the GOP. Still, there’s a chance the “big blue wave” might yet sweep over the polls on election day.
The early surge of voters shows that the country can look for record turnouts at the polls in the midterm, but right now, there’s no way of knowing if the votes will ultimately favor Democrats or Republicans.