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WTF - Get Out the Vote - Voter resources 2020 & Obstacles

Prepare for the Worst and Fight for the Best: A Citizen’s Guide to 2020 Electoral Interference

Put into Voter - Obtacles…thx @Pet_Proletariat @MissJava


Here are some signs of potential election interference and what could be in play with foreign attacks on our electronic voting systems (not directly but indirectly.)

Attacks against small towns, big cities and the contractors who run their voting systems have federal officials fearing that hackers will try to sow chaos around the election.

A Texas company that sells software that cities and states use to display results on election night was hit by ransomware last week, the latest of nearly a thousand such attacks over the past year against small towns, big cities and the contractors who run their voting systems.

Many of the attacks are conducted by Russian criminal groups, some with shady ties to President Vladimir V. Putin’s intelligence services. But the attack on Tyler Technologies, which continued on Friday night with efforts by outsiders to log into its clients’ systems around the country, was particularly rattling less than 40 days before the election.

While Tyler does not actually tally votes, it is used by election officials to aggregate and report them in at least 20 places around the country — making it exactly the kind of soft target that the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I. and United States Cyber Command worry could be struck by anyone trying to sow chaos and uncertainty on election night.

Tyler would not describe the attack in detail. It initially appeared to be an ordinary ransomware attack, in which data is made inaccessible unless the victim pays the ransom, usually in harder-to-trace cryptocurrencies. But then some of Tyler’s clients — the company would not say which ones — saw outsiders trying to gain access to their systems on Friday night, raising fears that the attackers might be out for something more than just a quick profit.

That has been the fear haunting federal officials for a year now: that in the days leading up to the election, or in its aftermath, ransomware groups will try to freeze voter registration data, election poll books or the computer systems of the secretaries of the state who certify election results.

Can you put under Vote Obstacles??? Looks like a big one.


Key Facts

As of press time, 1,012,211 ballots have been cast so far in states that publicly report that data and already have voting underway: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The three states reporting voter registration data—Florida, Iowa and North Carolina—report that 53.8% of their votes have been cast by registered Democrats, as compared with 16.7% of Republicans and 29.2% of unaffiliated voters.

North Carolina has the most votes cast so far (248,400), as compared with approximately 12,370 votes cast this far before the election in 2016.

Voters in 24 states have so far requested 64,157,727 mail-in ballots, and CNN noted Friday that the number of ballot requests in 15 states had already exceeded the total number of votes cast prior to election day in 2016.

In a blog post Sunday, Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who runs the Elections Project, an informational site, noted the actual number of ballots cast is likely higher—as complete records are not available for all states—and the increase over 2016 is likely due to state laws expanding early voting, an increase in mail-in voting due to the pandemic and voter interest.

A recent Washington Post /University of Maryland poll found that 61% of registered voters prefer to vote early in this election, as compared with only 41% who said they voted early in 2016; not all states will actually start counting those votes prior to polls closing on election day, however.

Big Number

50 million. That’s the approximate number of votes cast prior to election day in 2016, according to CNN. 136,669,276 total votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

Crucial Quote

We’ve never seen so many people vote this far in advance of a presidential election before,” McDonald told the Independent Monday. “We are in uncharted territory.”

Key Background

The actual act of voting has increasingly come under scrutiny in the run-up to the November election, with President Donald Trump repeatedly attacking mail-in voting as the practice becomes increasingly popular amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Trump’s claims that mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud are not backed up by any evidence, which shows that mail-in voter fraud is extremely rare.) The reliance on mail-in voting has also increased the likelihood that the winner of the presidential election will not be known until after election day—potentially sowing chaos—which has resulted in prominent figures like Michelle Obama calling for voters to cast their ballots prior to election day. The million-vote milestone also comes following reports of long lines at in-person polling places in multiple states as early voting has gotten underway in September.

What To Watch For

A number of states still have not even yet started their early voting yet, as in-person voting is only underway in nine states so far and will start in October in a further 38 states. Many states have also not yet started mailing ballots out to voters yet, according to state policies compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Can you put under “Vote Plz?”- thanks :grin: @Pet_Proletariat @MissJava


Just one of those details which are not welcome…relating to the safety of voting.

A laptop and several memory sticks used to program Philadelphia’s voting machines were stolen from a city warehouse in East Falls, city officials confirmed Wednesday, setting off a scramble among elections officials to investigate the theft and ensure the machines could not be compromised before Election Day.

The equipment appeared to be taken this week, sources said. Officials immediately began checking to make sure none of the voting machines had been compromised while also working to contain the fallout for fear of how President Donald Trump and his allies might use the news to cast doubt on the integrity of the city’s elections.

They said the theft would not disrupt the election.

“Since being informed of the incident, I have immediately committed to making necessary police resources available to investigate this incident and find the perpetrators. I have also committed to the City Commissioners additional resources to provide enhanced security at the warehouse going forward,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “This matter should not deter Philadelphians from voting, nor from having confidence in the security of this election.”

Still, when contacted by The Inquirer, the commissioners initially refused to confirm the theft or that they had opened an investigation. They only did so after The Inquirer informed them that it would be reporting the theft based on sources who had been briefed on the matter but were not authorized to publicly discuss it.

Trump, who trails former vice president Joe Biden in Pennsylvania polls, has sought to cast doubt on the election. That’s alarmed experts and voting rights advocates, who say the president is undermining public confidence in the electoral system and inappropriately politicizing the democratic process.

Can you put in the VOTE section please? Thanks @Pet_Proletariat @MissJava

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This NY Times Magazine feature, out today is extremely alarming and explains what we can expect from the WH/Trump and R’s during this election. We know they are getting out the false message that the ballots are mishandled, via fearmongering, laying the groundwork and coming out swinging to call anything irregular, and thereby voter fraud. They will distort the message, amplify any problem…and yes, use every means to get the votes changed.

@Mynta check this out


From Brian Stelter’s newsletter

The “voter fraud” fraud

The New York Times Magazine 's next cover story is along these same lines. Jim Rutenberg 's five-month investigation, based on 100+ interviews, is about the right wing’s fraud about “voter fraud.”

Rutenberg’s story was posted on Wednesday. “The movement to convince the country that voter fraud is a present danger to democracy has itself become a present danger to democracy,” he concluded. Trump is using the “full force” of government to pursue this “false threat,” he wrote, all “in the service of one goal: to maintain his own grip on power .”

On an October morning four years ago, eight young staff members at the Indiana Voter Registration Project in Indianapolis were planning their final steps before a closely contested presidential election**. In recent weeks they had registered 45,000 new voters, most of whom were Black and Latino, and they were on track to enlist 10,000 more before Election Day**. Their work had gone smoothly for the most part, but several canvassers had submitted applications with names that appeared to have been made up or drawn from the phone book, most likely to create the appearance that they were doing more work than they had actually done. That was illegal — submitting a false registration is a felony under Indiana law — and also frustrating. A made-up name was not going to help anyone vote. The staff members stopped using the suspect canvassers, but they couldn’t simply trash the faulty registrations: State law required them to file every application they collected, even if they had false names or serious mistakes. So they carefully identified all the applications with potentially false names, along with several hundred more with incorrect addresses or other simple errors, so that local election clerks would know they might present a problem.

Despite their efforts at transparency, though, Indiana’s secretary of state, Connie Lawson, used these faulty registrations as evidence of wrongdoing. She warned all the state’s county elections clerks that a group of “nefarious actors” who were going “by the name of the Indiana Voter Registration Project” had “forged voter registrations.” It was a gross exaggeration, but the project hired a lawyer to visit local election board offices and assure registrars that they were following the proper procedures. Craig Varoga, a longtime Democratic operative who runs Patriot Majority USA, which funded the Indiana project, told reporters that the fraud claims were false. Lawson was a close ally of Mike Pence, the state’s former governor who was then Donald Trump’s running mate. “We believe she is using government resources,” Varoga said, “to discredit and impugn the entire process.”

But the staff members did not expect anything like what came that October morning. Around 10:45, five unmarked state police cars and a mobile cybercrimes unit quietly approached their building. A staff member heard a knock on the back door. Within minutes, troopers were rounding up the staff members inside the office, announcing that they had a warrant to search all their computers, cellphones and records. When one staff member, a young Black man, refused to give up his phone, the troopers handcuffed him — for “acting like a hoodlum,” he later said in a sworn affidavit. Within a couple of hours, the police were heading out the door with computers and phones as a television news crew captured the scene.

Pence seized on the investigation in interviews. “Voter fraud, Dana, is real,” he told the CNN correspondent Dana Bash. “We’re dealing with it in the state of Indiana right now. We have literally thousands of instances of fraudulent voter registration.” This claim was a misrepresentation, but it was of a piece with similar claims circulating around the country. The Pennsylvania State Police raided a Democratic firm that it said was suspected of producing fraudulent registrations. Conservative activists released a report titled “Alien Invasion in Virginia,” claiming that more than a thousand “noncitizens” there were poised to vote illegally. A video from Project Veritas’s right-wing video ambush artist James O’Keefe III caught a Democratic operative seemingly discussing a hypothetical “huge, massive voter-fraud scheme” in Wisconsin, as Sean Hannity described it. Some of the claims were simply nonsensical. Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime adviser, tweeted a fictitious document that purported to reveal a Democratic plan to attack American voters with mind-controlling “pulsed ELF electromagnetic emissions” and impose martial law, adding only, “If this is real: OMG!!!”

None of these stories held up under examination: The Pennsylvania authorities never followed the raid with a case; there were no official findings of illegal voting by noncitizens in Virginia; a Wisconsin attorney general’s investigation failed to uncover a “massive voter-fraud scheme.” In Indiana, a judge dismissed charges against a manager at the Indiana Voter Registration Project, and prosecutors dropped the cases against nine of its former canvassers after they agreed to pay fines and confirm as true the charges against them. Two of the former canvassers did plead guilty to making false statements on government forms and received sentences of community service and probation.
But all those headlines about voter fraud — amplified daily on Facebook and Twitter — served a purpose: They laid the groundwork for a legal challenge. The Trump campaign had a team of election lawyers standing by to dispute election results throughout the country, and the Republican National Lawyers Association had readied a self-described “Navy SEAL-type” operation to fight similar cases. In the event of a Republican loss, they would need a story, and fraud was it. The truth appeared to be a secondary concern at best.

Victory did little to change their stance. Shortly after his inauguration, President Trump told a bipartisan group of senators that his narrow loss in New Hampshire was due to voter fraud. Thousands of out-of-state voters apparently voted illegally, he said, after they were bused in to New Hampshire from Massachusetts. After Trump’s rant was leaked to reporters, the ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the senior presidential adviser Stephen Miller if he really believed that to be the case. The practice of busing in illegal, out-of-state voters was “widely known” in New Hampshire, he said. But he declined to provide evidence, adding that “voter fraud is something we’re going to be looking at very seriously.”

As the 2020 presidential election nears, it is becoming clear that the Trump administration and the Republican Party are not just looking at but heavily investing in the largely nonexistent problem of voter fraud. A New York Times Magazine investigation, based on a review of thousands of pages of court records and interviews with more than 100 key players — lawyers, activists and current and former government officials — found an extensive effort to gain partisan advantage by aggressively promoting the false claim that voter fraud is a pervasive problem. The effort takes its most prominent form in the president’s own public statements, which relentlessly promote the false notion that voter fraud is rampant.

This story did not originate with Trump. It has its roots in Reconstruction-era efforts to suppress the votes of newly freed slaves and came roaring back to life after the passage of the Voting Rights Act. But it is reaching an apex now, as a president who lost the popular vote in 2016 and is currently trailing in the polls harnesses the reality-warping powers of social media and the resources of at least four federal agencies to undermine faith in an election he could very well lose.

Voter fraud is an adaptable fiction, and the president has tailored it to the moment. Even as the coronavirus pandemic poses a grave obstacle to his re-election, the crisis is providing him an opportunity to do what no other president has done before him: use the full force of the federal government to attack the democratic process, suppress the votes of American citizens and spread grievance and suspicion among his followers. Recently, perhaps predictably, the president has begun to suggest that because of his professed distrust in the election process, he will not agree to a peaceful transition of power.

It is remarkable, but not at all accidental, that a narrative built from minor incidents, gross exaggeration and outright fabrication is now at the center of the effort to re-elect the president. As we approach an election in which the threat of voter fraud is being used as a justification for unprecedented legal and political interventions in our democratic process, it is important to understand what this claim actually represents: It is nothing short of a decades-long disinformation campaign — sloppy, cynical and brazen, but often quite effective — carried out by a consistent cast of characters with a consistent story line. Even the Indiana Voter Registration Project remains in play. “In my own state of Indiana in 2012,” Pence said on Fox News in July, “literally, there was a group of people that were prosecuted for falsifying ballots.” He had the year wrong and the facts wrong. But the Indiana case was nevertheless proof, he said, that “the reality of voter fraud is undeniable.”

Can we move to Vote please??? And maybe someone insert an entry there, am maxed my 3.
Thanks @Pet_Proletariat and @MissJava :smile:

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Voter fraud is almost nonexistent at 0.001 percent of the vote each year and that has included states like mine that only vote by mail. If anyone tells you otherwise they are making it up to try to scare you.

Adding an Obama moment for a pep talk, I think we could all use it right now.


Here’s the story brought to light on Maddow tonight, after T mentioned that Philadelphia will be a hotbed of voter fraud. A state legislature with Republican led committee wants to control the vote and be able to determine how the election is being handled.

@mynta This is a prime example of setting up a Republican committee to oversee the results of the election.

HARRISBURG — One day after President Donald Trump fanned manufactured fears of election fraud in Pennsylvania, Republicans in the state legislature pushed forward an effort to create an “election integrity” committee that Democrats characterized as a “stealth attack” on voting.

The resolution would create a committee of five House lawmakers — three Republicans and two Democrats — to investigate and review the Nov. 3 election. The group would be empowered to subpoena “witnesses and documents” and initiate legal filings.

Democratic lawmakers, outnumbered in both chambers, called the resolution an overreach of power with a high potential for abuse. The committee could even attempt to “impound uncounted ballots,” House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D., Allegheny) claimed — potentially delaying the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results.

To put it simply this is a dangerous threat to our democracy,” Dermody said in a statement.

Rep. Garth Everett (R., Lycoming), who introduced the resolution, dismissed those concerns, saying Wednesday the intent of the measure was to review the election and make recommendations for improvements.

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Ok…this is great. Momentum in a battlegound state.

Florida Democrats Post Wide Lead in Mail-In Ballot Requests | Political News | US News


Follow the facts…not the BS.

The Washington Post: Trump’s barrage of new claims of voter fraud have been disproved

Trump then talked about military ballots being thrown in a garbage can. This refers to an incident in (Trump-friendly) Luzerne County, Pa., where ballots were, in fact, discarded. After being briefed on the incident by Attorney General William P. Barr (county officials looped in the Justice Department out of an abundance of caution), Trump first revealed the incident in a radio interview.

But here, too, there’s no evidence of fraud, according to Pennsylvania’s secretary of state.

“The investigation is still going on, but from the initial reports we’ve been given, this was a bad error,” Kathy Boockvar said. “This was not intentional fraud. So training, training, training.”

“While the actions of this individual has cast a concern, the above statement shows that the system of checks and balances set forth in Pennsylvania elections works,” Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri said in a statement last month. “An error was made, a public servant discovered it and reported it to law enforcement at the local, State and Federal level who took over to ensure the integrity of the system in place.”

After the military ballots, Trump described as a “terrible thing” ballots that “were on a tray, and they were thrown into a creek or a river.” This is an inaccurate description of an allegation that absentee ballots in Wisconsin were found in a ditch.

But that, too, is false. The mail that was discovered didn’t include any ballots.


Remarkable video…a warning about election security and how these guys are protecting us. Be watchhful…

Safeguarding Your Vote: A Joint Message on Election Security — FBI, heads of law enforcement, cyber heads give use fair warning that we should vote but we are watching all the incoming.


Good move to counter Gov Abbott’s outrageous limiting of ballot boxes.

Federal judge blocks Texas governor’s directive limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county - CNNPolitics


And it quickly turns around in Texas

Georgia voting lines today… :boom:


Just what the cost of this democracy is these day…a long wait.


That’s good for Minnesota voters in the age of slowed down Postal Service.

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Minnesota on Sunday upheld a seven-day deadline extension for counting mail-in ballots after it was challenged by a pair of Republicans.

Minnesota extended its deadline for receiving mail-in ballots after rights groups raised concerns that the state’s previous deadline could disenfranchise voters as the state receives an unprecedented number of absentee ballots.

In past elections, absentee ballots would be counted only if received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. However, a state court agreement reached with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon allowed ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if received within seven days.

But state Rep. Eric Lucero and James Carson — both certified Republican electors if Trump wins the state — challenged the extension arguing, among other things, that it violated federal law establishing Nov. 3 as the day of the 2020 election.

In her ruling late Sunday, Brasel rejected the plaintiffs’ claims for blocking the deadline extension. The judge also ruled that neither Lucero nor Carson had the standing to challenge the court agreement.

"[The plaintiffs] raise four theories of injury to support standing: vote dilution; uncertainty over how to vote; a risk to safe harbor compliance; and damage to their prospects for election as candidates for office. The Court considers each; none confers standing," Brasel wrote in analysis.

The two requested that U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel block the agreement.


A lot of voters are asking these questions right now: How quickly will ballots be counted in the presidential election? Which states will have results — and possibly a winner — on election night?

In a year when absentee ballots are surging, a lot depends on when officials first start what’s called pre-processing of ballots. This ranges from verifying signatures, opening envelopes and flattening ballots to get them ready for tabulation.

Some states begin this work weeks in advance and others are only allowed to begin on Election Day. States that begin early may have a lot more results counted by election night.

Because of the surge in mail ballots that need to be counted, if the presidential race is close, the winner may not be known on election night. More than 80.5 million absentee ballots have already been requested or sent to voters nationwide.

Presidential battleground states

Currently, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — two critical swing states — do not begin pre-processing ballots until Election Day, meaning they may take longer to have results.

Michigan, another important state, begins pre-processing just 10 hours before Election Day. Florida, by contrast, allows ballots to begin to be pre-processed 40 days before Election Day.

For much of the year, election officials around the country advocated for a policy change that could help speed up the count: allowing more widespread processing of submitted absentee ballots before Election Day.

Complicating things is that some states accept ballots after Election Day, provided they were postmarked by Election Day. Still, any head start in vote counting would help states report results sooner.

Two battleground states that give election officials a lot of time to process ballots before Election Day are Florida and Arizona, which means they are likely to have a lot of results on election night.

If Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins either state, it’s a good sign that he might win the presidency. Donald J. Trump won both in 2016 and all but certainly needs to hold them again. Neither state allows ballots received after Election Day to count, which theoretically would limit lengthy counting delays.

Michigan election officials have said that they anticipate having the bulk of their results tabulated by the Friday after Election Day. Wisconsin election officials are confident they will have most of their counting done by the day after Election Day, in part because of the state’s curing law, which allows voters a chance to fix some errors in advance.

While ballots in Wisconsin are not allowed to be opened or processed before 7 a.m. on Election Day, county clerks can inspect the outside of an absentee ballot to see if a signature, witness signature or witness address is missing. If so, they have the option to contact the voter and allow them the opportunity to fix the errors.

So while inspectors in Wisconsin on Election Day still must check for the signatures and witness address, they begin with the confidence knowing most have already been checked and addressed by clerks.

North Carolina and Georgia (red states in 2016) could have early results too, but there have been voting problems in those states in some recent elections. North Carolina elections officials still expect to have a vast majority of results by election night.

Ohio (a red state in 2016) and Minnesota (a blue state) are also likely to have results early, though both states have provisions to accept ballots after Election Day provided they were postmarked by Nov. 3, and a late surge could delay complete results. Ohio election officials said that results and counting will most likely roll into the Wednesday after Election Day.

States with critical Senate races

The battle for control of the Senate is also a huge story on Election Day, and it is possible that those results may be known quicker than those of the presidential election.

That’s because pivotal Senate races are in states like Colorado, which has been a vote-by-mail state for years, and Montana, which begins processing nearly a month out. Kentucky — where a lot of Democratic money has poured into the effort to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell — gives election officials a large runway to start pre-processing. These states are likely to have nearly complete results on election night.

Read further to see how the rate of tabulating the ballots might affect the calling of the votes -
one chart for Trump, one chart for Biden.


Huge numbers of voters out with mail in ballots and in-person early voting.

More than 22 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record-shattering avalanche of early votes driven both by Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has transformed the way the nation votes.

The 22.2 million ballots submitted as of Friday night represents 16% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even as eight states are not yet reporting their totals and voters still have more than two weeks to cast ballots. Americans’ rush to vote is leading election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes may be cast and turnout rates could be higher than in any presidential election since 1908.

“It’s crazy,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who has long tracked voting for his site McDonald’s analysis shows roughly 10 times as many people have voted compared with this point in 2016.

“We can be certain this will be a high-turnout election,” McDonald said.

So far the turnout has been lopsided, with Democrats outvoting Republicans by a 2-1 ratio in the 42 states included in The Associated Press count. Republicans have been bracing themselves for this early Democratic advantage for months, as they’ve watched President Donald Trump rail against mail-in ballots and raise unfounded worries about fraud. Polling, and now early voting, suggest the rhetoric has turned his party’s rank and file away from a method of voting that, traditionally, they dominated in the weeks before Election Day.

That gives Democrats a tactical advantage in the final stretch of the campaign. In many critical battleground states, Democrats have “banked” a chunk of their voters and can turn their time and money toward harder-to-find infrequent voters.

But it does not necessarily mean Democrats will lead in votes by the time ballots are counted. Both parties anticipate a swell of Republican votes on Election Day that could, in a matter of hours, dramatically shift the dynamic.

The Republican numbers are going to pick up,” said John Couvillon, a GOP pollster who is tracking early voting. “The question is at what velocity, and when?”

Couvillon said Democrats cannot rest on their voting lead, but Republicans are themselves making a big gamble. A number of factors, from rising virus infections to the weather, can impact in-person turnout on Election Day. “If you’re putting all your faith into one day of voting, that’s really high risk,” Couvillon said.

That’s why, despite Trump’s rhetoric, his campaign and party are encouraging their own voters to cast ballots by mail or early and in-person. The campaign, which has been sending volunteers and staffers into the field for months despite the pandemic, touts a swell in voter registration in key swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania — a sharp reversal from the usual pattern as a presidential election looms.

But it’s had limited success in selling absentee voting. In key swing states, Republicans remain far less interested in voting by mail.

In Pennsylvania, more than three-quarters of the more than 437,000 ballots sent through the mail so far have been from Democrats. In Florida, half of all ballots sent through the mail so far have been from Democrats and less than a third of them from Republicans. Even in Colorado, a state where every voter is mailed a ballot and Republicans usually dominate the first week of voting, only 19% of ballots returned have been from Republicans.

“This is all encouraging, but three weeks is a lifetime,” Democratic data strategist Tom Bonier said of the early vote numbers. “We may be midway through the first quarter and Democrats have put a couple of points on the board.”

The massive amount of voting has occurred without any of the violent skirmishes at polling places that some activists and law enforcement officials feared. It has featured high-profile errors — 100,000 faulty mail ballots sent out in New York, 50,000 in Columbus, Ohio, and a vendor supplying that state and Pennsylvania blaming delays in sending ballots on overwhelming demand. But there’s little evidence of the mass disruption that some feared as election offices had to abruptly shift to deal with the influx of early voting.

But there have been extraordinary lines and hourslong wait times in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina as they’ve opened in-person early voting. The delays were largely a result of insufficient resources to handle the surge, something advocates contend is a form of voter suppression.

Republicans argue that these signs of enthusiasm are meaningless — Democratic early voters are people who would have voted anyway, they say. But an AP analysis of the early vote shows 8% of early voters had never cast a ballot before, and 13.8% had voted in half or fewer of previous elections for which they were eligible.

The data also show voters embracing mail voting, which health officials say is the safest way to avoid coronavirus infection while voting. Of the early voters, 82% cast ballots through the mail and 18% in person. Black voters cast 10% of the ballots cast, about the same as their share of the national electorate, according to the AP analysis of data from L2, a political data firm. That’s a sign that those voters, who have been less likely to vote by mail than white people and Latinos, have warmed to the method.

Mail ballots so far have skewed toward older voters, with half coming from voters over age 64. Traditionally, younger and minority voters send their mail ballots in closer to Election Day or vote in person.

The mail ballots already returned in several states dwarf the entire total in prior elections. In Wisconsin, more than five times as many mail ballots have been cast compared with the entire number in 2016. North Carolina has seen nearly triple the number so far.

In-person early voting began this week in several major states and also broke records, particularly in crowded, Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas. In Texas, Houston’s Harris County saw a record 125,000 ballots cast. In Georgia, hourslong lines threaded from election offices through much of the state’s urban areas.

Tunde Ezekiel, a 39-year-old lawyer and Democrat who voted early in Atlanta on Thursday, said he wanted to be certain he had a chance to oust Trump from office: “I don’t know what things are going to look like on Election Day. … And I didn’t want to take any chances.”

The obvious enthusiasm among Democrats has cheered party operatives, but they note that it’s hard to tell which way turnout will eventually fall. Republicans may be just as motivated, but saving themselves for Election Day.

High turnout can benefit either side,” Bonier said. “It just depends.

Associated Press writers K


Curtailing the vote in Texas. That’s your modus operandi. Reject it, don’t let it get checked.