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SPLC Report Finds 23 Million Outstanding Mail-In Ballots

Voters should only use official drop boxes, drop ballots off at their election offices or polling places, or choose in-person voting options for remainder of election season

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The latest analysis released this afternoon by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) finds that, a day before Election Day, there are still 23 million people who have an outstanding mail ballot that they have not returned.
 
“With the final day of in-person voting set to begin in just hours, we urge voters who have not returned their ballots to submit them through official drop boxes where available or in-person to election offices. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll be received in time to be counted if mailed. In many states, they must be received no later than November 3rd, regardless of the postmark. Voters can also surrender their absentee ballot and vote in-person on Tuesday as is their right,” said Seth Levi, Chief Strategy Officer for the SPLC. “Voters who have already returned their ballot should check with their state election officials to confirm it was received. If it hasn’t been received, they can and should vote in-person on November 3.”
 
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. 
 
 
ADDITIONAL NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
  • As of November 2nd, over 83 million people have already voted in the 2020 election, both by mail and early in person voting. Another 23 million people have an outstanding mail ballot. The number of people who have already voted by mail or early-in person represents 61.2% 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 a 17.3% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down from 17.5% on 11/1). However, Republicans hold a 2.7% advantage among early in-person votes (up from 2.2% on 11/1). Democrats still have many more ballots outstanding by a margin of 15.1% (up from 14.8% on 11/1).
  • Young voters’ share of votes cast continues to rise. Voters aged 18 to 29 now make up 11.3% of mail ballots cast (up from 11.1% on 11/1) and 12.3% of early in-person votes (up from 11.8% on 11/1). This trend has been consistent day-to-day for the last two weeks.
  • Black voters continue to turn out at high rates for early in-person voting. Black voters are just 14.3% of registered voters nationally, but make up 13.4% of early in person votes cast (no change from 11/1).
  • Latinx voters continue to make more use of voting by mail than early in-person voting. Latinx voters currently make up 10.0% of mail ballots cast (no change from 11/1) and 8.7% of early in-person votes (up from 8.4% on 11/1).
  • The steady increase in vote share among first time voters has continued. 7.4% of mail ballots cast are from first time voters (up from 7.2% on 11/1) and 7.4% of early in-person votes (up from 7.0% on 11/1).
STATE HIGHLIGHTS:
Florida
  • 4,394,099 voters in Florida have cast their ballots by mail and 3,688,095 have voted early in-person. Another 978,882 have an outstanding mail ballot. The total number of votes cast in Florida so far (both by mail and EIP) is 85.8% of the votes cast in Florida in the 2016 general election.
  • Democrats are outpacing Republicans in mail ballots cast by 14.6% (down from 14.8% on 11/1). However, Republicans currently hold a 13.2% advantage in early in-person votes (up from 13.0% on 11/1). Democrats still have more outstanding ballots than Republicans by a margin of 11.7% (up from 10.8% on 11/1). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Latinx voters’ vote share in Florida continues to trend up. Latinx voters currently make up 15.4% of mail ballots cast (up slightly from 15.3% on 11/1) and 17.4% of early in-person votes (up slightly from 17.3% on 11/1).
  • Black voters continue to over-index among early in-person votes compared to their registration rates. Black voters make up 14.5% of early in-person votes (slightly down from 14.6% of 11/1), despite being just 14.2% of registered voters. Black voters also represent 11.5% of mail ballots cast (no change from 11/1). 
Pennsylvania
  • 2,261,399 voters in Pennsylvania have cast their mail ballots with another 661,031 voters having an outstanding mail ballot. 
  • Democrats continue to hold a large lead over Republicans in mail ballots cast, with a margin of 44.2% (down from 44.8% on 11/1). Democrats also hold many more outstanding mail ballots than Republicans by a margin of 17.1% (down from 17.5% on 11/1). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Black voters in Pennsylvania make up 11.6% of mail ballots cast (no change from 11/1), despite being just 11.8% of registered voters in Pennsylvania.
  • White college-educated voters make up 43.4% of mail ballots cast by white voters (slightly up from 43.3% on 11/1). White non-college voters make up 44.5% of mail ballots cast by white voters (down slightly from 44.6% on 11/1).
 Michigan
  • 2,636,760 voters in Michigan have cast their ballots by mail, with another 179,603 having voted early in-person. 516,024 more voters have an outstanding ballot. 
  • Black voters makeup 12.9% of mail ballots cast. This is the first time since 10/21 that this rate has increased. 
  • White college-educated voters in Michigan make up 40.6% of mail ballots cast by white voters (no change since 11/1). White non-college voters make up 50.2% of mail ballots cast by white voters (no change since 11/1).
  • Michigan continues to have fewer first-time voters than the national average, though it has continued to increase in recent days. As of today, 5.1% of mail ballots cast have come from first time voters (up from 4.7% on 11/1). While there aren’t many early in-person votes in Michigan overall, 8.4% of those votes have been cast by first time voters (up from 7.6% on 11/1).
Wisconsin
  • 1,143,670 voters in Wisconsin have cast their mail ballots and 561,960 have voted early in-person. Another 182,317 have an outstanding mail ballot.
  • Young voters aged 18 to 20 currently make up 8.9% of mail ballots cast (slightly up from 8.8% on 11/1) and 6.6% of early in-person votes (up from 6.2% on 11/1).
  • Women are still outpacing men in mail ballots cast by a wide margin (13.7% - no change from 11/1) despite only having a 5.6% registration advantage. However, that gap shrinks considerably among early in-person votes, where women hold just a 2.6% advantage (no change from 11/1).
  • Black voters continue to make use of Wisconsin’s early in-person voting at high rates. Black voters currently make up 5.6% of early in-person votes (no change from 11/1) and are 5.7% of all registered voters in Wisconsin.
Nevada
  • 562,897 voters in Nevada have cast their mail ballots and another 494,871 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 18.7% (down from 19.2% on 11/1) among mail ballots cast. Among early in-person votes, Republicans continue to hold an advantage over Democrats by 14.0% (down from 14.6% on 11/1). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Nevada continues to have a high number of first-time voters, and it has continued to rise in the last two weeks. 14.2% of mail ballots cast have come from first time voters (up from 13.8% on 11/1), which is well ahead of the 7.2% national average. Among early in-person votes, 10.6% have come from first time voters (up from 10.1% on 11/1), compared to 7.0% nationally.
  • Latinx voters’ share of mail ballots cast is 13.7% (up from 13.4% on 11/1) and 15.6% of early in-person votes (up from 14.8% on 11/1).
  • Black voters’ share of mail ballots cast is 9.3% (up slightly from 9.2% on 11/1) and 9.0% of early in-person votes (up from 8.8% on 11/1).
Georgia
  • 1,183,391 voters in Georgia have cast their ballots by mail and 2,627,939 have voted early in-person. Another 289,313 voters have outstanding mail ballots. The total number of votes cast (both by mail and EIP) represents 92.6% of the total votes cast in Georgia in the 2016 general election.
  • Modeled Democrats hold a 4.2% advantage over modeled Republicans in mail ballots cast (down slightly from 4.3% on 11/1). Modeled Republicans hold a 14.2% advantage in early in-person votes (down from 14.5% on 11/1).
  • Black voters currently make up 33.2% of mail ballots cast (no change from 11/1) and 29.6% of early in-person votes (up slightly from 29.5% on 11/1), which is mostly keeping pace with share of registered voters (33.6%).
  • Young voters’ vote share in Georgia continues to trend up. Voters aged 18 to 29 make up 10.3% of mail ballots cast (up from 9.9% on 11/1) and 14.6% of early in-person voters (up from 13.8% on 11/1).
  • Young Latinx voters are continuing to turn out at higher rates than young voters in the state overall. Latinx voters under 40 are 39.6% of mail ballots cast by Latinx voters, compared to 19.8% among all voters under 40. Latinx voters under 40 are 50.4% of early in-person votes by Latinx voters, compared to 29.9% among all voters under 40.
North Carolina
  • 888,106 voters in North Carolina have cast their ballots by mail and 3,293,490 have voted early in-person. The number of ballots cast so far (both by mail and EIP) represents 88.2% of the total votes cast in North Carolina in the 2016 general election.
  • Democrats currently have a 25.6% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots (down from 26.0% on 11/1) and a 1.0% advantage in early in-person voting (down from 1.6% on 11/1). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship.
  • Black voters continue to vote early in-person at high rates, making up 22.7% of votes (down from 22.9% on 11/1) compared to 23.1% of registered voters in North Carolina. Black voters represent 16.9% of mail ballots cast (no change from 11/1).
Iowa
  • 645,518 voters in Iowa have cast their mail ballots with another 256,109 having voted early in-person. 56,317 voters have an outstanding mail ballot.
  • Democrats currently hold a 21.3% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down from 21.7% on 11/1). However, Republicans hold a 5.0% advantage among early in-person voters (up from 3.7% on 11/1). This is based on official party registration, not modeled partisanship. 
  • College-educated white voters make up 39.4% of mail ballots cast by white voters (a number that has been unchanged since 10/21) and 39.2% of early in-person white voters (down from 39.6% on 11/1).  
Arizona
  • 2,212,558 voters in Arizona have cast their mail ballots with another 932,194 voters having an outstanding ballot. The total number of votes cast in Arizona so far represents 88.7% of the total votes cast in the 2016 general election. 
  • Democrats currently hold a 1.5% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down slightly from 1.6% on 11/1). Republicans currently have more outstanding mail ballots than Democrats by a margin of 4.1% (down from 4.3% on 11/1). 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 has continued to trend up in recent days (currently at 15.1%), though there is no change from yesterday. 
  • Young voters’ share of mail ballots cast has also continued to increase in Arizona, though we do not see a change from yesterday’s numbers. The share of mail ballots cast by voters aged 18-29 has is still 11.2%.
Maine
  • 319,029 voters in Maine have cast ballots by mail and another 139,414 have voted early in-person. 34,600 voters have an outstanding mail ballot. 
  • Democrats currently hold a 32.0% advantage over Republicans in mail ballots cast (down from 32.2% on 11/1) and 8.2% advantage in early in-person votes (down from 8.7% on 11/1). This is using official party registration, not modeled partisanship. 
  • College-educated white voters make up 39.8% of mail ballots cast by white voters (down slightly from 39.9% on 11/1) and 37.4% of early in-person white voters (down slightly from 37.5% on 11/1).