With 11 days left, more than 50 million Americans have cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election, according to the University of Florida's United States Election Project.
The number of people casting early ballots in person or by mail signals a potential record turnout out for November 3, as Reuters reported, when either President Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden will be the commander in chief for the next four years.
That figure equals roughly 21 percent of all eligible U.S. voters. In the 2016 election, 137 million ballots were cast, and experts predict the figure could be above 150 million this year.
Mail-in ballots have been a particularly controversial aspect of early voting. As Forbes reported, Trump has repeatedly argued that so-called "universal mail-in ballots" are a scam. In one tweet, he declared that the practice would lead to "the most corrupt Election [in] USA history," despite evidence showing postal voter fraud is exceedingly rare.
The Trump campaign filed lawsuits in September challenging three of the nine states sending ballots to voters: New Jersey, Montana, and Nevada. These claims of voter fraud have now been struck down in every state where the practice was challenged. A federal judge on Thursday dismissed the Trump campaign's lawsuit against New Jersey for mailing ballots, saying that it was based on "highly speculative fear."
Trump has committed to a peaceful transfer of power, as The Inquisitr reported, but has continued to raise doubts over voting by mail, which may impact early votes.
The massive early vote total gives Trump less opportunity to change minds before voting concludes. A majority of opinion polls show Biden leading both nationally and in key battleground areas, as Forbes observed.
The early voting returns in many areas, including several swing states, show a strong start for Democratic candidates. According to analysis from Hawkfish, the Democrats are achieving significant margins in Arizona (16 percent), Michigan (24 percent), North Carolina (14 percent), Pennsylvania (46 percent), and Wisconsin (22 percent).
More than 6 million Texans have already voted, which is equal to more than 70 percent of the state's entire turnout in 2016. An all-time record for early voting has been set in Texas' most populous county, the Democratic stronghold of Harris County, where more than 95,000 votes have been recorded.
Among the 19 states that provide party registration data, registered Democrats have sent in 10 million mail-in ballots, which is more than double the total number (4.6 million) returned by registered Republicans.
Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has remained the key issue in voters' minds. As his Democratic opponent reminded viewers during their final debate, the disease has killed more than 221,000 people in the United States.
Biden, 77, plans a speech in Delaware on Friday to discuss his plans to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic.