US election 2020: How many people have voted so far?

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Presidential elections in the US take place every four years as voters come out to usher in a new president, or returning head of state for another term. This year will see Republican nominee and sitting President Donald Trump battle Democrat candidate Joe Biden in an electoral showdown for the White House. The coronavirus has somewhat complicated the process of voting this year as a number of people have been forced to participate through mail-in ballots in unprecedented numbers.

How many people have voted so far?

With just 20 days to go until Election Day, things are heating up on America’s political scene.

As it stands, more than 14million Americans have already cast their ballot for their next president, according to data from the US Elections Project.

The figure includes both ballots cast in-person and absentee or mail-in ballots returned to local election offices.

It comes as more states open early voting locations and the window for registering to vote closes in other areas. 

While the total number of ballots cast across the US only represents 10.2 percent of the total turnout of the 2016 election, the number of people who have voted in Vermont alone – 95,885 – account for nearly 30 percent of the state’s total turnout in 2016.

In Wisconsin, Virginia and South Dakota, the figure stands at around 25 percent of 2016’s levels, according to data from the University of Florida.

In Georgia, where a record number of 128,590 ballots were cast on the first day of early voting Monday – a more than 40 percent increase from four years ago – the high turnout has led to long queues and hours long waits.

In Kansas, Oregon, West Virginia and Virginia, the registration to vote deadline was on Tuesday night.

However, thousands were left unable to vote for hours after the state’s internet was cut off due to a severed cable.

A federal lawsuit was filed in Virginia, seeking a 48-hour extension on voter registration.

Elections Project Director Michael McDonald said in an interview with NPR the voter turnout this year is “unprecedented”,

Mr McDonald said: “We have never seen this number of people cast ballots so early in this election.”

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He explained a number of factors likely contributed to the high levels of voter turnout this year, particularly in early voting.

Changes to state election laws expanding voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic mean people can vote from home, therefore increasing the numbers of ballots.

Mr McDonald explained: “We have seen so many people requesting mail ballots and voting in-person early in order to socially distance.

“The other big factor, though, that’s going on here is that there are lots of people who are really enthused to vote, and they’re casting their ballots early.”

It comes after President Donald Trump was recently diagnosed with coronavirus and had to be hospitalised.

He was back on the campaign trail just 11 days after his diagnosis ad he addressed a packed crowd of supporters in Florida.

He boasted to the crowd: “I feel so powerful. I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. “I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women – everybody.”

Joe Biden has been consistently leading in the polls, but this is no way to forecast the outcome of this election as polls often tend to be misleading.

Hilary Clinton was predicted to win the election in 2016, and while she did surge to first place in the popular vote, ultimately America’s Electoral College system means she missed out on the Presidency.

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