Big voter turnout seen in US election
“We’re already at 34-percent turnout without even having an election day. These numbers are extraordinarily high compared to previous elections in the United States,” said Daron Shaw, a professor at the University of Texas’ Department of Government and Frank C. Erwin Jr. Chair of State Politics.
AFP/File

Big voter turnout seen in US election

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — United States experts expect a higher voter turnout in this year’s presidential elections than in 2008, when Barack Obama became president.

“We’re already at 34-percent turnout without even having an election day. These numbers are extraordinarily high compared to previous elections in the United States,” said Daron Shaw, a professor at the University of Texas’ Department of Government and Frank C. Erwin Jr. Chair of State Politics.

Speaking at the briefing with participants of the virtual reporting tour on the 2020 US elections organized by the US Department of State’s Foreign Press Center, Shaw said: “I do think we’re trending towards certainly the highest turnout since 2008. And my guess is it will probably go even higher than that.”

In 2008, 57.1 percent of the US voting-age population cast ballots.

More than 95 million Americans have already voted on the eve of the elections.

The number of ballots cast early in this year’s election represents nearly 70 percent of all those cast in the 2016 general election, a Reuters report said.

Some experts believe an increased voter turnout would strongly favor Democratic candidate Joe Biden if the demographic reflects younger voters getting to the polls.

“So, the central question in 2020 with higher turnout is, is there a prevailing wind? And I think the suspicion amongst a lot of people is that it’s a Democratic year. That the prevailing wind is favorable to the Democrats, and so the higher turnout will help them. I think that’s entirely possible, but I also think we don’t know,” Shaw said.

He said in Texas, most Democrats have already voted. “The Democrats have already voted by mail. Some of them will obviously still vote on Election Day,” Shaw said.

“The remaining question is whether Republicans will show up with the same kind of enthusiasm on Election Day, which is when most Republicans are going to vote,” he said.

“If you peered inside the ballot boxes right now, Joe Biden would have a very strong lead. The question is whether President Trump’s supporters show up on Election Day in the same kind of forces,” he said.

Shaw said President Trump’s supporters are expected to turn out in larger numbers on Election Day.

“But (at) this point, the remaining voters out there are disproportionately Republican. And so, if they show up, if they cast their ballots and turnout goes even higher, I actually think we’ll have a more competitive election than if you stopped right now,” he said.

A poll of likely voters conducted by The New York Times and Siena College showed Biden, a former US vice president, ahead of Trump in most important presidential swing states.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION US
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