The presidential election is bringing out people in droves across the nation.
In Georgia, more than 128,000 Georgians went to the polls Monday, a record for the first day of early voting in the state, according to the secretary of state’s office.
The Associated Press reports that the high turnout surpassed the nearly 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016 and left voters waiting in hours-long lines across the state to cast their ballots.
In Texas, early voting began Tuesday with long lines, one of the few places in the U.S. not allowing widespread mail balloting during the pandemic.Texas is one of just five states that did not dramatically expand mail-in voting this year because of COVID-19.
In Tennessee, early voting started Wednesday for the Nov. 3 election, and polling places in Nashville, Memphis and other cities were seeing long lines of people ready to cast their ballots. Social media posts showed long lines at early voting locations, with voters spaced apart as they observe social distancing guidelines.
Across the U.S., early voting rules vary state-to-state, but began for the vast majority of eligible voters in October at an average of 22 days before the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Initial signs suggest Black voters are indeed intent on casting a ballot this year. Steady traffic at early voting sites in states like Ohio and strong returns of mailed-in ballots in North Carolina, Georgia and elsewhere indicate an energized Black electorate.
Even with the hurdles of a pandemic and voter suppression efforts, reports on early voting and requests for mail-in ballots show encouraging signs of energized voters.
With three weeks to go before the Nov. 3 election, more than 2.6 million registered voters have applied for a mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania, a battleground state hotly contested by President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Of those applicants as of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million are registered Democrats and about 641,000 are registered Republicans, a three-to-one ratio, according to state data. Another 284,000 ballots were requested by independent or third-party voters.
We hope that high early voter turnout across the nation is a predictor of what voter turnout will be here in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.