Eight days before the presidential election in the United States, 59.4 million Americans have already voted in advance. According to the Elections Project at the University of Florida, 40 million voted by mail and 19.4 million, in person.
The number equals 43.1% of all votes in the 2016 election, when then-Republican candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.
With the high number of early votes, experts predict that a record 150 million votes can be beaten and the rate of participation in the election may be the highest since 1908.
Texas, California and Florida are the states with the highest number of early votes to date: 7.2 million, 6.5 million and 5.7 million, respectively. The 7.2 million votes cast in Texas are already equivalent to 80% of all votes in the 2016 election.
One of the people to vote in advance was the U.S. president and re-election candidate Donald Trump. The Republican voted Saturday morning (24) for a library in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Wearing a mask, Donald Trump votes in advance in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday (24) – Photo: Tom Brenner / Reuters
Early voting in the state, considered one of the most important in the American election, began a week ago, on October 19. The official election date is November 3.
Also on Saturday, New York City registered long lines on the first day of early voting. Voters waited hours to vote, and images of gigantic queues were recorded at several points.
American voters line up to vote early in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday (24) – Photo: Jeenah Moon / Reuters
Unlike Brazil, voting is not mandatory in the United States. And voters can choose their candidate before the official election date, including sending the vote by mail.
See in the video below how postal voting works in the USA:
Voting by mail should make it difficult to determine the outcome of the American election
How the American election works
The US presidential election works in a very peculiar way and is defined by the Electoral College. In this system, each state gains weight, according to the size of its population, and does not necessarily win who receives the most votes.
There are 538 delegates across 50 states and the District of Columbia (where is the capital, Washington). Little Vermont, for example, has only three delegates, while California, the most populous state, has 55.
State voting works on the system dubbed “the winner takes it all”: the candidate for president who wins in each state gains the right to all the votes of the delegates, even if the victory is by a small margin.
Thus, the candidate needs a strategy to win from state to state until he reaches the minimum of 270 votes from the Electoral College and is elected president. It happened in 2016: Trump had fewer votes than Hillary, but won 276 delegates and won the election.
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That is why, as much as Democrat Joe Biden appears ahead of Trump in all polls, it is possible that the American president will be able to re-elect himself even losing again in the total number of votes at the ballot box.
See in the video below how the election works in the USA:
How the Presidential Election Works in the United States
In the American election, there are states that are traditionally Republican and others where Democrats always win. That’s why the real dispute takes place in the swing states (pendulum states, in free translation), which vary between parties at each election.
In this year’s election, Florida and Pennsylvania are the main “battlefields”, and the teams of Biden and Trump bet heavily on the campaign in those locations. If one of the candidates wins in both states, he will be very close to reaching 270 votes in the Electoral College.
Decisive states in the US presidential elections – Map – Photo: Juliane Souza / G1
In addition to Florida and Pennsylvania, there are three states with very different characteristics that are worth a large number of votes in the Electoral College and also deserve attention: North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.
These states mix voters of different profiles. While city dwellers tend to vote for Democratic candidates, rural dwellers prefer Republicans. Thus, specific constituencies of the electorate can unbalance the race to one side.
In 2016, Trump won in all three states – including in Wisconsin, where a Republican hasn’t won a majority of voters since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 victory.