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What do early voting trends say about this year's election?

by Government Affairs Team | Nov 18, 2020

This weekend marks the end of early, in-person voting in the following states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.   Many of these states are the must-win “battleground states” for both President Trump and former Vice-President Biden, including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and the biggest prize of all:  Florida.  With early numbers in, here are some of the trends and how this might impact overall turnout.    

Voting has already reached 62% of the total voting in 2016.  As of Friday, October 30th at 12:00 P.M. EST more than 84 million people have voted, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.  That includes both in-person voting and absentee ballots.  This represents 62% of the total vote in the 2016 general election and we have not reached Election Day yet. GCSAA has analyzed the numbers on a state-by state basis in the attached slide and many numbers exceed these totals:  California has reached 58% of 2016 totals; Arizona has reached 74% of 2016; Texas has reached 94% (data is as of October 29th).  

At least 22 million people have already voted in eight swing states.   A look at 8 battleground states shows the high turnout continuing in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan and Arizona.   Arizona and North Carolina have almost reached their 2016 voter turnout levels (data as of October 29th) as noted in the attached slide.

What about Florida?   Florida turnout – so far – is at 53% of 2016 totals (data as of October 29th).  Success in the I-4 Corridor, between Tampa (located in Hillsborough County) and Orlando (located in Orange County), is key to winning the state.  A look at the voting totals for these counties show 479,994 early votes in Hillsborough (52.7% of total registered voters) and 418, 526 early votes in Orange County (50% of total registered voters).  

Do early votes mean a higher turnout overall?  Voters are clearly motivated to come out early.  COVID-19 undoubtedly is playing a role too.  Given the high percentages of votes being cast, it is possible that in many states, turnout in many states will exceed 2016.    We will know more on Election Night.  One thing we do know now is that golf needs to be heard.  Be sure to cast your vote and post your picture on social media with “#golfvotes”.