Early votes in US pass 62 million, shattering records

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted on Monday but criticised long lines as a form of voter suppression

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez greets a child as she waits in line to vote early at a polling station in The Bronx, New York City, U.S., October 25, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Powered by automated translation

More than 62 million Americans have voted in the 2020 election so far, passing the total 2016 vote with eight more days to go before polls close.

The US election project count on Monday afternoon said 62,014,329 Americans voted early or by mail across the country.

That is a record that passed the 2016 total early vote by almost 4 million (58.3 million in 2016).

Estimates are projecting that more than 100 million ballots will be cast early.

Texas is leading the early vote counts with more than 7.3 million ballots, 82 per cent of the total 2016 turnout.

Recent polls have shown a close race in the state, which no Democrat has won since 1976.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris will be visiting Texas on Friday. The last time a Democratic vice presidential nominee campaigned there was in 1988.

The Democrats hold an almost 2-1 advantage in the early vote but pollsters such as John Zogby are cautious not to over-read the turnout.

"We know from our polling that Democrats are more likely to vote early and Republicans will be more likely to vote on election day," Mr Zogby told The National.

US President Donald Trump cast his ballot on Saturday in Florida, another state with a surge in early voting.

On Monday, Congresswoman and liberal firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted early in New York but criticised the long lines and hinted at voter suppression.

“There is no place in the United States of America where two, three, four-hour waits to vote is acceptable," she said.

"And just because it’s happening in a blue state doesn’t mean that it’s not voter suppression."

A YouGov poll among those who voted early in three swing states showed Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading by wide margins.

In Wisconsin, Mr Biden led Mr Trump 73-26; in Michigan 75-23; and in Pennsylvania 87-9.

But among those who have not yet voted, Mr Trump takes the lead in two states: 57-39 in Wisconsin and 57-35 in Michigan, while Mr Biden leads 59-38 in Pennsylvania.

Mr Trump, Mr Biden and their campaign surrogates will be criss-crossing the US swing states in the last week of the race.