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New SPLC Analysis: 30 Million Americans Have Not Mailed Their Ballots Yet

Outstanding ballots in Florida 1.7M; Pennsylvania 1.1M; Michigan 860K; Wisconsin 338K; Georgia 505K; Arizona 1.3M

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A new analysis released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) finds that with just six days to go before the 2020 General Election, at least 30 million Americans have not yet mailed in their ballots. 
 
As of today in states that publish absentee and early vote data, more than 63 million people have already voted by mail or early in-person; 30 million ballots requested by mail are outstanding. 
 
“It’s encouraging to see that millions of people have already exercised their right to vote, but there are a worrying number of mail ballots still outstanding,” said Seth Levi, Chief Strategy Officer for the SPLC. “We are just six days away from Election Day. Those who have not returned their absentee ballot should strongly consider taking it to a drop box or their local elections office instead of sending it through the mail to ensure it arrives in time to be counted.”
Although turnout among young voters is on the rise, that age group continues to lag in returning mail ballots and voting early in-person. Voters aged 18-29 now make up 10.1% of mail ballots cast (up from 9.6% on 10/26) and 10.8% of early in-person votes (up from 10.2% on 10/26). Conversely, voters 65 and older make up 41.7% of mail ballots cast (down from 43.2% on 10/26) and 32.7% of early in-person votes (down from 34.1% on 10/26). 
 
Black voters continue to turn out at high rates for early in-person voting while Latinx voters are making more use of vote by mail than early in-person voting.
 
The analysis is a part of an ongoing data tracking and reporting project between BlueLabs Analytics and the SPLC to track requested and returned absentee ballots as well as early voting in the states that report these numbers. These numbers will be essential reference points as Election Night results begin to be reported, and the SPLC, allied groups, and election observers strive to ensure enough votes have been counted for an appropriate call to be made at presidential and statewide levels. 
 
 
Currently, the SPLC projects regular updates on absentee and early voting trends and analysis two to three times a week before November 3. 
 
ADDITIONAL NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
  • As of October 28th, just over 63 million people have already voted in the 2020 election, both by mail and early in-person voting. Another 30 million people have an outstanding mail ballot. The number of people who have already voted or requested a ballot represents about 69% of the total votes cast in the 2016 general election.
  • •Using modeled partisanship combined with party affiliation where it’s available, we can estimate that Democrats hold an 18.9% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down from 19.4% on 10/26). However, Republicans hold a 1.0% advantage in early in-person votes (down from 1.3% on 10/26). Democrats still have many more outstanding mail ballots than Republicans by a margin of 14.5% (down from 14.9% on 10/26).
  • Young voters’ share of votes cast continues to rise. Voters aged 18-29 now make up 10.1% of mail ballots cast (up from 9.6% on 10/26) and 10.8% of early in-person votes (up from 10.2% on 10/26). The vote share of the oldest voters, those 65 and older, has seen a corresponding decrease in the last few days. Voters 65+ now make up 41.7% of mail ballots cast (down from 43.2% on 10/26) and 32.7% of early in-person votes (down from 34.1% on 10/26). 
  • Black voters continue to turn out at high rates for early in-person voting. Black voters are just 14.3% or registered voters nationally, but make up 13.8% of early in-person voters (down slightly from 13.9% on 10/26).
  • Latinx voters are making more use of vote by mail than early in-person voting. Latinx voters currently represent 9.5% of mail ballots cast nationally and 8.4% of early in-person voters.
  • We’re continuing to see an increase in vote share among first time voters. First time voters currently make up 6.5% of mail ballots cast (up from 6.2% on 10/26) and 6.3% of early in-person votes.
 
KEY STATE HIGHLIGHTS:
Florida
  • 3,854,960 voters in Florida have cast their ballots by mail and 2,456,232 have voted early in-person. Another 1,687,735 have an outstanding mail ballot. The total number of votes cast in Florida so far (both my mail and EIP) is 67.0% of the total votes cast in Florida in the 2016 general election.
  • Democrats are outpacing Republicans in mail ballots cast by 15.9% (down from 16.2% on 10/26). However, Republicans currently hold an 11.9% advantage in early in-person votes (up from 11.0% on 10/26). Democrats still have more outstanding mail ballots than Republicans by a margin of 8.8% (up slightly from 8.7% on 10/26). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Latinx voters’ vote share in Florida has continued to trend up. They currently make up 14.9% of mail ballots cast (up from 14.7% on 10/26) and 17.0% of early in-person votes (up from 16.6% on 10/26).
  • Black voters continue to over-index among early in-person votes compared to their share of registered voters. Black voters make up 15.1% of early in-person votes despite being just 14.2% of registered voters. They also make up 11.4% of mail ballots cast (no change from 10/26).

Pennsylvania

  • 1,780,478 voters in Pennsylvania have cast their mail ballots with another 1,117,193 voters having an outstanding ballot. These numbers represent a sizable shift from 10/26: 393,395 new ballots cast and 299,545 fewer outstanding ballots.
  • Democrats continue to hold a large lead over Republicans in mail ballots cast, with a margin of 48.1% (down from 51.1% on 10/26). Democrats also have many more outstanding mail ballots than Republicans, with a margin of 22.4%. This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Black voters in Pennsylvania are still showing high vote by mail rates, though they are no longer over performing registration rate. Black voters make up 11.8% of registered voters and 11.4% of mail ballots cast (down from 12.2% on 10/26).
  • White college-educated voters make up 43.6% of mail ballots cast by white voters (up slightly from 43.5% on 10/26). White non-college voters make up 44.6% of mail ballots cast by white voters (down slightly from 44.8% on 10/26). Both of these rates have been very consistent over the last week, with very little movement day-to-day.
Michigan
  • 2,182,493 voters in Michigan have cast their ballots by mail with another 89,956 having voted early in-person. 860,418 more voters have an outstanding mail ballot.
  • Black voters make up 11.9% of mail ballots cast. This number has been very stable, not changing since 10/21.
  • White college-educated voters in Michigan make up 40.7% of mail ballots cast by white voters (up slightly from 40.6% on 10/26). White non-college voters make up 50.3% of mail ballots cast by white voters (down slightly from 50.4% on 10/26).
  • Michigan continues to have fewer first time voters than the national average, though it has increased in recent days. As of today, 4.2% of mail ballots cast in Michigan have come from first time voters (up from 3.8% on 10/26). And while there aren’t many early in-person votes in Michigan overall, 6.5% of those have been cast by first time voters.
Wisconsin
  • 996,400 voters in Wisconsin have cast their mail ballots and 271,809 have voted early in-person. Another 338,380 have outstanding mail ballots.
  • Young voters (aged 18-29) currently make up 8.4% of mail ballots cast (no change from 10/26) and 4.6% of early in-person votes (no change from 10/26).
  • Women are still outpacing men in mail ballots cast by a wide margin (13.9%) despite having only a 5.6% registration advantage. However that gap shrinks considerably among early in-person votes, where women hold just a 2.7% margin.
  • Black voters continue to make use of Wisconsin’s early in-person voting at high rates. Black voters currently make up 5.7% of early in-person votes and 5.7% of total registered voters. 
Nevada
  • 434,016 voters in Nevada have cast their mail ballots and another 339,190 have voted early in-person. The state of Nevada sent mail ballots to all registered voters this year, so there is no data about ballot requests to report.
  • Democrats are currently outpacing Republicans by 21.7% in mail ballots cast (up from 18.0% on 10/26). In early in-person votes, Republicans continue to hold an advantage over Democrats by 13.7% (up from 11.7% on 10/26). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Nevada continues to have a high number of first time voters. 13.0% of mail ballots cast have come from first time voters (up from 12.2% on 10/26), which is well ahead of the 6.5% national average. Among early in-person votes, 9.0% have come from first time voters, compared to 6.3% nationally.
  • Latinx voters’ share of mail ballots cast is 12.8% (up from 11.9% on 10/26) and 14.0% of early in-person votes (down from 14.3% on 10/26).
  • Black voters’ share of mail ballots is currently 9.0% (up from 8.2% on 10/26) and 8.9% of early in-person votes (down from 9.9% on 10/26).
Georgia
  • 1,000,706 voters in Georgia have cast their mail ballots and 1,931,907 have voted early in-person. Another 505,225 voters have an outstanding mail ballot. The total number of ballots cast (both by mail and EIP) represents 71.2% of the total votes cast in Georgia in the 2016 general election.
  • Modeled Democrats hold a 4.7% advantage over modeled Republicans in mail ballots cast (no change from 10/26). Modeled Republicans hold a 13.1% advantage in early in-person votes (up from 12.9% on 10/26).
  • Black voters currently make up 33.4% of mail ballots cast (no change from 10/26) and 30.2% of early in-person votes (down slightly from 30.3% on 10/26), which is keeping pace with share of registered voters (33.6%).
  • Young voters’ vote share in Georgia continues to trend up. Voters aged 18-29 make up 8.7% of mail ballots cast (up from 8.2% on 10/26) and 12.4% of early in-person votes (up from 11.9% on 10/26).
  • Young Latinx voters are turning out at higher rates than young voters in the state overall. Latinx voters under 40 are 36.0% of mail ballots cast by Latinx voters (compared to 17.1% among all voters under 40) and 45.4% of early in-person votes by Latinx voters (compared to 26.0% among all voters under 40). 
Arizona
  • 1,756,229 voters in Arizona have cast their ballots by mail with another 1,351,029 voters having an outstanding mail ballot.
  • Democrats currently have a 4.8% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down from 8.0% on 10/26). Republicans currently have more outstanding ballots than Democrats, by a margin of 6.0% (down from 6.5% on 10/26). Arizona is one of the only battleground states where Republicans have more outstanding ballots than Democrats. This is using official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Latinx voters’ share of mail ballots cast continues to trend up, currently making up 14.4% of mail ballots cast (up slightly from 14.3% on 10/26).
  • Young voters’ share of mail ballots cast has also continued to increase in Arizona. The share of mail ballots cast by voters aged 18-29 has increased from 8.7% on 10/26 to 9.6% as of today.
Maine
  • 280,580 voters in Maine have cast ballots by mail and another 96,116 have voted early in-person. 69,084 voters have outstanding mail ballots.
  • Democrats currently hold a 34.6% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down from 36.2% on 10/26) and a 14.6% advantage in early in-person votes (down from 18.2% on 10/26). This is using official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • College-educated white voters make up 40.2% of mail ballots cast by white voters (down from 40.4% on 10/26) and 38.8% of early in-person white voters (down from 39.2% on 10/26). 
In addition to analyzing voter trends, SPLC - in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta - is supporting voter registration and mobilization efforts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi this election cycle through the Vote Your Voice initiative. 
 
SPLC is investing up to $30 million from its endowment in nonpartisan, nonprofit voter outreach organizations across the Deep South to increase voter registration and participation among people of color.
 
The Vote Your Voice campaign seeks to: empower communities of color by aiding them in their fight against voter suppression; support Black- and brown-led voter outreach organizations often ignored by traditional funders; support and prototype effective voter engagement strategies; and re-enfranchise returning citizens despite intentional bureaucratic challenges.