Photo: Tom Williams via Getty Images

It looks like Americans are taking the initiative and coming out in droves to exercise their most fundamental right as American citizens: to vote

The early data has come in and the results have been astounding: over 1 million Americans have cast their votes early, compared to 9,525 at this same time in 2016. The conclusion is clear: more people are voting early this year than in 2016.

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The data comes from University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald, who closely watches, records, and reports voting data on his blog.

“We’ve never seen so many people vote this far in advance of a presidential election before,” McDonald told The Independent. “We are in uncharted territory.”

Why are people voting so early? According to experts, there are multiple theories as to why early voter engagement is so high. One theory is that COVID-19 has former in-person voters to find alternate, safer methods of casting their vote.

“We’re hearing it on both ends [of the political spectrum],” BIPOC voting-turnout organizer Dakota Hall told The Atlantic. “[People are saying:] ‘I’m afraid to vote in person. This virus can potentially be deadly to myself and to my family members.’”

Another theory (in conjunction with the above theory) is that Americans are that much more passionate about the election turnout this year. And they want to make their voices heard.

According to the Pew Center for Research, Americans are not as disillusioned about the importance of voting.

According to one poll that Pew conducted, 83% of registered voters say it really matters who wins the presidency. That is compared to only up 74% in 2016. Also worth noting: that is the highest share in twenty years. 

Whatever the reason for the historic early-voter turnout, one thing is for sure: early voters are voting blue. According to the Washington Post, 52% of voters who requested mail-in ballots in early-voting states have been registered Democrats. Compare that number to only 28% of Republican-registered voter requests.

The rate of voter engagement is encouraging, especially since President Donald Trump has been publicly waging a war against mail-in ballots and the postal service, claiming (without proof) that a surge in mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud. Instead of heading his baseless warnings, it appears that voters are relying on their own instincts and exercising their fundamental right to make their voices heard anyway.

The historic surge in early voting appears to be energizing Americans all across the country.

Excited voters are sharing videos of long lines at polling places in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Virginia.

People are relaying their stories of early voting, reassuring other voters that early-voting is, in fact, safe.

Trump’s transparent attempts at voter suppression don’t seem to be working (at least for now).

There are even reports that the pandemic has actually encouraged people to vote.

If you still have not registered to vote, head over to to get yourself set up for November 8th (or before). Now is your time to make your voice heard!