On September 18th, states will begin to allow voters to cast their ballots in-person, and more states will open early voting in the coming weeks. However, millions of voters across the country aren’t waiting for in-person voting to begin and have instead requested vote by mail ballots and it’s clear: Democrats are building a massive advantage in early voting by mail. Here are a few key takeaways from the data that is available so far:
1. Democrats are leading in VBM requests in every state except four (AR, ID, IN, MI) that have begun early voting. This includes the battleground states of FL, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI.
This count does include automatic or permanent VBM requests, which may explain Michigan, where Democrats have tangentially experienced a surge in voter registration this summer.
2. A significant share of VBM requests are coming from voters who did not cast a ballot in 2016.
Among 2016 non-voters, Democrats are leading Republicans in key states, including FL, ME, MI, PA, and WI. In PA, for instance, nearly 175,000 Democrats who did not vote in the 2016 presidential election have requested ballots, more than double the number of Republicans.
3. The early vote electorate in 2020 is so far much more favorable than the 2016 electorate was for Democrats in these 15 states, when Democrats trailed in all but 5 of them (NOTE: This data is based on a generic modeled partisanship of the voters who cast a ballot in 2016). !