Early voting turnout numbers this election year were impressive. Before any votes were cast on Election Day, more than 101 million people voted either by mail or in person, according to the U.S. Elections Project. In fact, the early turnout in 2020 was 73.6% of the TOTAL number of people who voted in 2016. When we looked at these early turnout figures, one question was whether the trend would continue through Election Day: Were people – during a pandemic – voting in greater numbers or were they merely moving their vote to an earlier, perhaps more convenient, time? The answer to that question is that 2020 was a record year for voting overall. In fact, more than 159 million voted in 2020 with many states still certifying their votes. That’s expected to be a total of 66.8% of all eligible voters, the highest turnout since 1908.
A closer look at early turnout shows that at least 29 million people voted early in eight swing states. A look at these states shows that Florida lead the states in early turnout, even though it’s early turnout figures was close to, but did not exceed, it’s 2016 figures. The other seven states show similarly high levels of early turnout, when compared to 2016 figures. The attention provided to each of these states by the presidential campaigns had results.
A look at post-election turnout for each of these swing states also indicates a high turnout rate. Florida again leads, exceeding the national average. In fact, almost all the other states exceeded the national turnout rate of 66%. So more people voted before and during the election.
Drilling down a bit with Florida, a perennial battleground state, the statistics show that the bulk of the voting occurred before Election Day. Almost 64% of the voting population in Florida came out to vote before Election Day. After Election Day, numbers increased to 77% - an additional 2 million more votes to bring the total to more than 11 million, the highest turnout in 28 years.
When we looked at voter motivation this year, it was an open question whether people were more motivated to vote. It is clear now that they were, both nationwide and in many states.
This was a record year.