Voting Turnout Hits Record Highs
As of this past Sunday afternoon, Americans have shattered early voting records with a staggering 93 million votes already cast. That’s 68 percent of the total amount of early votes cast in 2016.
Hawaii and Texas have already surpassed their 2016 totals as of Friday, with Montana, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia following close behind. And those are just early vote numbers.
This year has brought not only a dramatic shift in the amount of people but the way people are voting early. In previous years, Democrats tended to vote early in person and Republicans tended to vote early by mail. Due to President Trump’s claims that mail-in voting enables widespread fraud and Biden’s consistent urges to vote by mail, the roles have been reversed this year.
No group has seen voting numbers skyrocket quite like the youth vote, a group of consistently low voting numbers for the previous few elections. This year, however, as more of Gen Z become eligible voters, that political apathy has dissipated: early youth votes have already amounted to nearly 19 times the 2016 amount.
Yet despite the large number of early voters this year, lines in states such as Georgia and Texas have voters waiting for hours.
New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the long lines she experienced while voting last weekend in the Bronx:
"There is no place in the United States of America where two-, three-, four-hour waits to vote is acceptable… and just because it's happening in a blue state doesn't mean it's not voter suppression."
Although many institutions grant employees leave on Election Day to cast their vote, this day has yet to become a federal holiday. As a result, many employees (usually those who work lower-paying jobs and can’t afford to take a day off to vote) are unable to vote.
This is a form of lower-class voter suppression.
Representative Ocasio-Cortex continued, “...we are going to overcome this hurdle so that we can elect the folks that make sure that this will not be a problem in the future.”