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Early Voters

READY TO VOTE People line up at a polling site in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 17. ROGER KISBY—BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

On Election Day, November 3, Americans will go to the polls to vote for president of the United States. But millions have already cast their ballot. As of October 19, a record 29 million Americans had voted early, at a polling site or by mail. That’s about six times as many as had voted at that point in the 2016 presidential election. The numbers show that people are eager to vote and concerned about in-person voting during the pandemic.

This early voting data comes from the United States Elections Project. It’s run by Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida. “We can be certain this will be a high-turnout election,” he says.

Some states begin counting early votes as soon as they arrive. Others wait until Election Day. Either way, the public will not see results before then. With so many mail-in ballots to be counted, the winner might not be immediately clear.

Eddie Perez is an election expert. He works for the OSET Institute, which develops election technology. “Many people are passionate about participating in this election,” he told National Public Radio on October 18. “There’s a lot of bottled-up demand for people to get there right away and get their vote in.”

Stop and Think! What data does this article include? From what source does the author take this data? How does this information help you understand the election?