By Adam Levy, Ethan Cohen and Liz Stark | October 7, 2020
As Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris of California meet in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night for their first and only vice presidential debate, more than 5.4 million Americans have already voted in the general election, according to a CNN and Edison Research survey of election officials in 31 states reporting voting data.More than 3 million of those votes come from 11 of CNN’s most competitively ranked states.Nationally, Democrats are voting in droves ahead of the election, making up more than half the ballots cast so far in states with party data available, and Republicans making up about one-quarter of the votes so far.
That detailed information, analyzed by Catalist, a company that provides data, analytics and other services to Democrats, academics and nonprofit issue-advocacy organizations, is giving new insights into who is voting before November. Catalist analyzed almost 4.5 million ballots cast in 27 states so far.
This data does not predict the outcome of any race, as polling shows Republicans strongly prefer voting in person on Election Day rather than early. The information contains insights and details about who is voting ahead of November 3. While the returns represent a small fraction of the expected number of ballots to be cast in 2020 — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton received about 130 million votes combined four years ago — some states have reported that the numbers of ballot requests and returns have already set records.Despite the surge in preelection voting this year, the gender breakdown remains similar to this point in 2016: 55% of the ballots cast so far are from women and 45% are from men. Among CNN’s key states, Wisconsin, at 57%, has the largest share of ballots returned by women.
Most of CNN’s key states are seeing gender breakdowns among ballots cast similar to those of this point four years ago, but there are exceptions. At this point in 2016, roughly 61% of Georgia’s ballots cast had come from women, but so far this year, it’s only 56%.
State snapshot: Florida
As Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are ramping up efforts to court Hispanic voters, especially in Florida, there has been a slight uptick in the share of ballots cast so far by Hispanic voters in the Sunshine State.Currently, Hispanic voters make up about 9% of voters who have cast their ballots so far, compared with about 6% at this point in the cycle four years ago.Mail-in vs. absentee votingBlack voters have also increased their share of the early vote in the state, composing about 11% of those who have cast ballots so far, compared with 7% at this point in 2016.White voters in Florida continue to make up the vast majority of those who have cast their ballots so far, although the share is down from 2016: 77% this cycle, compared with 84% four years ago.Women have cast about 54% of the ballots so far in the state, about the same as at this point four years ago.
State snapshot: North Carolina
In North Carolina, there has been a significant increase in preelection voting among Black voters, who represent about 17% of those who have already cast ballots. At this time four years ago, Black voters accounted for only about 10% of those early voters.White voters’ share of ballots already cast has decreased from 86% at this point in 2016 to about 77% this year. The shares of ballots from Hispanic and Asian voters remain at roughly 2016 levels.The gender breakdown of ballots cast so far in North Carolina is similar to what it was at this point in 2016. In both cycles, 56% of preelection ballots had been cast by women and 44% by men — even as the number of advance votes cast in the Tar Heel State this cycle has skyrocketed compared with 2016 levels. Roughly 196,000 more women have voted compared with this point in 2016, while men have cast about 154,000 more ballots.