Advertisement

Over 50 million Americans have voted early, suggesting huge U.S. election turnout

Click to play video 'More than 56 million Americans vote early' More than 56 million Americans vote early
WATCH: More than 56 million Americans vote early – Oct 24, 2020

More than 50 million Americans have cast ballots in the U.S. presidential election with 11 days to go in the campaign, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in over a century, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project on Friday.

The eye-popping figure is a sign of intense interest in the contest between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as well as Americans’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19, which has killed more than 221,000 people across the United States.

Click to play video 'Pennsylvania’s new early voting system proves popular' Pennsylvania’s new early voting system proves popular
Pennsylvania’s new early voting system proves popular – Oct 23, 2020

Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3, as a safer way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: U.S. election: Biden, Trump lawyer up for potential court battle over the White House

The high level of early voting has led Michael McDonald, the University of Florida professor who administers the U.S. Elections Project, to predict a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65 per cent of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.

Click to play video 'US election: What to watch for in the final Trump-Biden presidential debate' US election: What to watch for in the final Trump-Biden presidential debate
US election: What to watch for in the final Trump-Biden presidential debate – Oct 22, 2020

In Texas, the level of voting has already surpassed 70 per cent of the total turnout in 2016.

The pandemic has upended campaign traditions and its effects still are being felt. Americans may find themselves waiting days or weeks to know who won as election officials count tens of millions of mail-in votes.

Click to play video 'US election: Trump pleased with his final debate performance against Biden' US election: Trump pleased with his final debate performance against Biden
US election: Trump pleased with his final debate performance against Biden – Oct 23, 2020

On Friday, Trump will hold rallies in the battleground state of Florida, where opinion polls show a tight race and over 4 million votes have already been cast, approaching half the total four years ago. Biden will deliver a speech in his home state of Delaware on his plans for leading a recovery from the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

(Reporting by Costas Pitas in London; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrea Ricci)