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What early (and unspeakable) early voting can be about elections

Democratic strategists think the early figures show an 2020 electorate that is bigger, younger and more diverse than 2016 – and not just a transfer of votes that could come on Election Day.

The big picture: Early voting data signaled strong Democratic enthusiasm for key battlefield states. But strategists on both sides said Republicans could still reach that advantage with an increase in personal attendance on Election Day.

Details: Right now, first-time and infrequent Democratic voters outnumber registered Republicans with a larger margin than 2016, according to data from TargetSmart, a Democratic company.

  • “In North Carolina, nearly 1
    in 5 ballots are far from those who did not vote in 2016,” said Greg Speed, president of America Votes.
  • 24.9 million ballots have been cast. In major states such as Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Iowa, more than a quarter of the total number of ballots cast in 2016 has been received.
  • More than six times as many Democrats cast ballots than at the same point in 2016 – and the Republican early vote was almost four times.

Pennsylvania and Florida is key to watch.

  • 59% of first-time voters who have already cast ballots in Pennsylvania are registered Democrats, compared to only 15% of registered Republicans. First-time Democratic voters barely get Republicans (40% to 38%) by this point in 2016.
  • In Florida, registered Democrats top Republican registered first-time voters grew by nearly 10 percent points compared to 2016.

What to watch: 2020 is a unique election, and comparisons to 2016 should be made with a grain of salt.

  • “I can’t help but look at this data using the Trump lens telling Republicans that continuous vote-by-mail is a scam,” said Josh Mendelsohn, CEO of Michael Bloomberg’s data firm Hawkfish, to Axios. “The mistrust that – appears in this data.”
  • “There is less of a requirement for Republicans to vote early,” said Mike Meyers, a Republican and president of TargetPoint Consulting.

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