- Early voters in Texas have already exceeded the total number of people statewide who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 — and the election is still 14 days away.
- That figure contributes to an immense wave of voter enthusiasm sweeping across the country.
- Trump won Texas by 9 percentage points in 2016 but is now polling within the margin of error.
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Early voting in Texas started only a week ago, but the Lone Star State already leads the US in turnout.
In fact, more Texans have now cast their ballots for the upcoming presidential election than the total number of people in the state who voted for then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in 2016.
That’s about 4.7 million people who have voted ahead of Election Day, according to the US Elections Project, just over the 4.68 million votes previously cast for Trump, who won the state by 9 percentage points in 2016.
This figure contributes to an immense wave of voter enthusiasm sweeping across the country, which is on track to shatter records for early turnout. With two weeks left until November 3, at least 35 million people so far have voted by mail or in person, according to data collected by the US Elections Project. That number represents nearly a quarter of the total votes counted in the 2016 presidential election.
Similar to Texas, early voters in key battleground states such as Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan have also exceeded 20% of their total 2016 turnout.
Democrats hope these strides will translate into an election win for presidential nominee Joe Biden, and initial evidence is leaning in their favor. A closer look at the numbers in states that provide party-registration information shows that about 53% of early votes have been cast by registered Democrats compared with 25% by registered Republicans, according to the US Elections Project.
Texas possesses 38 electoral votes and has voted for a Republican president in 11 of the past 12 elections. If Texas went to Biden in November, the presidential race would effectively be over.
Decision Desk HQ, an election-forecasting company, ran 140,605 simulations where Trump emerged victorious — he won Texas in 99% of those scenarios. So a Texas victory is not a preference for the Trump campaign — it’s a necessity.
Recent polling by Morning Consult between October 2 and 11 showed Trump leading Biden in Texas by just 2 percentage points — well within the margin of error. According to DDHQ, Trump has a 61.3% chance of winning the state.
Originally, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled early voting to begin on October 19, but he signed off on letting it start on October 13 to accommodate public-safety standards amid the coronavirus pandemic. Early voting ends on October 30.
Yet Abbott, along with other Republicans who voiced concerns of voter fraud, successfully resisted a push by Democratic state leaders to expand Texas’ strict eligibility requirements for mail-in voting. A federal appeals court also blocked the Democrats’ effort in September.
The governor also issued an order that limits every Texas county to only one ballot drop box. A judge recently overrode that order, but drop-box availability continues to be a hotly contested issue in Texas.
Because of the ongoing legal saga, the Harris County District Clerk said the county had no plans to reopen the 11 closed drop boxes and would continue to follow the governor’s order. Houston, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the US, is in Harris County — meaning about 2.3 million people rely on a single drop box.
Still, despite court rulings that may stymie easy voting, Texas is on pace for a record turnout in the 2020 election.