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Early voting in Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee surging ahead of elections

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Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke departs after greeting supporters near a polling place on Monday in Houston.
Democratic
Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke departs after greeting supporters
near a polling place on Monday in Houston.

Loren Elliott/Getty Images

  • Early voting in November’s midterm elections has begun — and
    turnout and enthusiasm are unusually strong among both
    Republican and Democratic voters across the country.
  • Republicans are outnumbering Democrats among early voters
    in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana,
    Tennessee, and Texas, in part because older voters — who skew
    conservative — vote early in higher rates. 
  • Election experts say that if voting rates remain at these
    levels, next month’s midterms could see presidential election
    year turnout, which would be virtually unprecedented. 

Early voting in November’s midterm elections has begun — and
turnout and enthusiasm are unusually strong among both
Republicans and Democrats across the country, including in key
battleground states like Texas and Florida. 

In Indiana, where Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is hoping to
hang on to his seat in a competitive race, early voting turnout
is at presidential election year levels. And i
n Georgia,
where voters will decide a hotly contested governor’s
race, voters are casting early ballots at three times
the rate of the 2014 election. 

The Houston Chronicle likened
the nearly 2,000 people — many of whom camped out — outside
an early voting location in Houston on Monday morning to a Black
Friday shopping crowd. 

More than 5 million voters had already cast their midterm ballots

in 38 states
 and Washington, DC, as of Monday — and
early voting rates typically accelerate as Election Day nears.
Election experts say that if voting rates remain at these levels,
next month’s midterms could see presidential election year
turnout, which would be virtually unprecedented. 

Republican are outnumbering Democrats among early voters
in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana,
Tennessee and Texas,
NBC News reported
Monday. (In Nevada, Democrats are outpacing
Republicans so far.)

This may be in part because older voters — who skew
Republican — usually vote at higher rates by absentee ballot,
while Democrats show up in bigger numbers in person before
Election Day. Mail-in voting is particularly popular among older
voters. And in some states, like Michigan, where every voter over
the age of 60 is guaranteed an absentee ballot, it’s
encouraged. 

While the early votes cast so far clearly signal elevated
turnout and energy, the numbers don’t necessarily reflect the
final outcome of any election.

A recent
NBC/Wall Street Journal poll
found that enthusiasm among both
GOP and Democratic voters has surged recently. The survey found
that 68% of Republican voters and 72% of Democrats are very
interested in the election, which are the highest recorded rates
for both parties in a midterm election since the poll was first
conducted in 2006. 

And while Democrats maintain their lead on the generic
congressional ballot, President Donald Trump’s approval rating
reached an all-time high of 47% in that poll. 

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