The nearly 9 million total ballots cast as of Saturday already suggests a record turnout for this year's race compared to the 75,000 ballots that were cast at a similar time in 2016, according to data from the United States Elections Project.
"That’s unprecedented in a modern election in the United States," Elections Project founder and University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald wrote on the project website.
He expects "around 150 million people" to vote in this year's election, the "highest turnout since 1908 of those eligible to vote."
That number of early ballots cast so far represents 6.4% of the total national voter turnout in 2016. Some states, however, have recorded a larger percentage of early voters.
In South Dakota, more than 94,000 ballots have been cast as of Saturday, or 24.9% of the state's total voter turnout in 2016. In swing state Wisconsin, nearly 650,000 people have voted, or 21.7% of the state's total 2016 turnout. Virginia has recorded nearly 950,000 ballots cast, representing 23.7% of its total 2016 turnout.
Vermont also emerged on Saturday with nearly 80,000 ballots cast, or 24.8% of the state's total 2016 ballot count.
Flordia has seen the largest turnout by far with nearly 1.4 million ballots cast as of Friday, or 14.3% of its total 2016 turnout.
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Swing state Michigan and battleground state Minnesota have also recorded hundreds of thousands of ballots—Michigan with more than 844,000 as of Saturday, or 17.3% of its 2016 ballot count, and Minnesota with more than 635,000, or 21.4% of its 2016 number.
McDonald said he "expected some things to be different since states changed their laws" to accommodate voters amid the pandemic. McDonald added that "70 million mail-in ballots [are] expected to go out to voters" ahead of Nov. 3.
"People did not have to take advantage of this," he said of mail-in ballots and early voting. But many people already have.
Ballot data is unavailable across much of the West Coast, including California and Arizona, and in some states along the East Coast, including New York. California, however, has recorded the highest number of mail ballot requests at nearly 21.5 million compared to Florida's 5.5 million as of Saturday. Voters in Washington state have requested 4.6 million main-in ballots.
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Those ballot requests by party, however, may not be an accurate indicator of final election results, McDonald's frequently asked questions page on the Elections Project website.
"Just because registered Democrats are leading Republicans in early voting, that does not mean the Republicans will not make up ground on Election Day," McDonald wrote, adding that "registered Democrats typically lead Republicans during early voting, and Republicans vote on Election Day, a pattern that persists across many states and elections."
McDonald shared two possible scenarios for this year's voter outcome.
"The first is that many voters...have successfully flattened the curve on mail-in ballots, meaning election officials will be able to more accurately process ballots," he said. "The typical pattern is: We usually don’t see this rush at the beginning...early voting numbers are small and pick up closer to Election Day."
The second scenario, he said, is the U.S. "following a typical pattern, and as Election Day appears, we’ll see unprecedented [in-person] turnout for the election."
Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, D.C., Hawai’i, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey and Utah sent mail-in ballots to every registered voter as an alternative to voting in person during the COVID-19 crisis.