Politics Texas officials report record 8.4M early votes five days before election
How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results
More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.
Election officials in Texas say more than 8.4 million people have already voted ahead of next week's general election, nearly equalling the total number of votes cast in the state in 2016.
As of Wednesday, 8,449,858 people in Texas have cast their ballots since early voting began on Oct. 13, according toon the state's website. More than 40 percent of all registered voters in the state had voted by Sunday.
The 8.4 million number represents 94 percent of all the votes cast in the 2016 general election.
Why Texas Republicans' hold on the state is loosening
The huge surge of early voting in Texas' rapidly growing cities and inner suburbs likely marks the end of unchallenged Republican dominance in America's second largest state -- a seismic shift in the nation's electoral landscape.Even if President Donald Trump retains enough rural strength to hold Texas in next week's election, which many still consider the most likely outcome, the swelling voter turnout in and around the increasingly Democratic-leaning cities of Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth points toward a return to political competition in the state after more than two decades of almost uninterrupted Republican ascendancy.
On the first day of early voting, local election officials reported long lines snaking around polling places with multiple localities shattering records for number of votes cast.
Both President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have been making plays for the state, which has gone red every year since 1976.
For the first time in years, multiple pollstersTexas into the "toss up" category, citing a renewed enthusiasm for Democratic politicians there and an increase in grassroots political action.
While Trump has maintained a steady lead in most statewide polls in Texas, a new poll released this week shows him neck and neck with Biden.
"Democrats have been dreaming of a Blue Texas for longer than most Texans have been alive. This is the clearest sign that Democrats are close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not elections. Democrats have probably surged almost all the votes they can get out of the Lone Star State; the question is whether Republicans will be motivated enough to turn out on Election Day," John Cluverius, associate director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion,.
A record number of Americans are expected to vote early and by mail as a result of ongoing public health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
How to watch election night 2020: the definitive hour-by-hour guide .
Election Day is nearly here, and in a matter of hours we’ll find out whether this is the end of the campaign — or just the beginning of a protracted fight over who won. At 7 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time, which applies to all times mentioned here), we’ll start to see returns from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia. Trump won all four of these states in 2016 and needs to win them again in 2020. The good news for viewers is that we should see relatively quick results in these key states, all of which are allowed to start processing (i.e., opening envelopes, validating signatures or even counting) their early votes and mail ballots before Election Day.