Midterm early voting at record numbers nationwide

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As the polls closed for early voting, numbers show a record number of people decided to vote before Election Day.

According to the U.S. Election Project, more than 43 million votes have been cast early nationwide. While an official number is pending, more than 580,000 Minnesotans have voted early.

Since the 2014 midterm election, according to global analytics firm Gallup, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who plan to vote or voted early. Gallup’s statistics show 41% of people planned to vote early or have already voted — that’s up from 34% in 2018 and 26% in both 2014 and 2010.

“Voting early and by mail was the popular option when we were looking at a pandemic that was in full bloom,” Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, said about why early voting numbers may be trending up.

“Now the question is, have we [started] new habits? And we’re more accustomed to voting early and voting through the mail?” Jacobs added.

He still expects high turnout for Election Day. Jacobs says because of the high number of people voting early, people should be patient when polls close and expect results to shift back and forth.

Follow full election coverage and results here.