Accessibility links

USA

33 Million Americans Vote Early as Presidential Campaign Enters Final Stretch

  • VOA Staff

This combination of photos shows supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016.

This combination of photos shows supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016.

Newly released voting figures show 33 million Americans have already cast their ballots for the next president, offering analysts tantalizing clues to who might have the advantage in an increasingly tight contest.

That means as many of one-quarter of all votes have already been cast, even as the candidates and their high-profile supporters criss-cross the country delivering last-minute pitches ahead of the official election day Tuesday.

Political analysts say the surge of early voting in Colorado, Nevada and Virginia favors Democrat Hillary Clinton, whose Democratic Party has more campaign workers on the ground to get likely voters to the polls. However there are signs she has problems elsewhere in the nation's central heartland, including Ohio, where fewer people have voted early than in the last presidential election.

Each of the 50 states sets its own rules for early voting and when it can begin.

With just three days of campaigning left before most Americans cast their ballots, polls show a tightening race between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. The RealClear Politics poll average shows Clinton slightly ahead with 46.6 percent of the vote, compared to 44.8 percent for Trump. Her lead in several key battleground states has also narrowed.

Barb Kearney-Schupp deposits her vote-by-mail ballot in a collection box, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at Seattle Central College in Seattle. More than a million Washingtonians have already cast their ballots in advance of Tuesday's election, as voters decide on federal and state races, as well as ballot initiatives.

Barb Kearney-Schupp deposits her vote-by-mail ballot in a collection box, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at Seattle Central College in Seattle. More than a million Washingtonians have already cast their ballots in advance of Tuesday's election, as voters decide on federal and state races, as well as ballot initiatives.


Clinton's advantage has shrunk following last-minute disclosures by the FBI that it is still investigating her use of a private email server. Trump charges that Clinton is so bogged down in legal problems that her election would plunge the United States into a constitutional crisis.

But Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia who edits a leading political newsletter, said it's unlikely the latest FBI disclosures are changing many voters' minds and it's not unusual for polls to tighten in the race's final days.

"This may never have been a 7, 8-point race in Clinton's favor. I think it has settled into a 3 or 4-point face in her favor," he said.

Kondik said the focus on Clinton's email issue has affected her standing, but the campaign has routinely seen support for each candidate dip when they have been the focus of news media attention. He said Trump has helped himself over the past week by avoiding the controversies that have characterized his campaign.

Both candidates scheduled campaign events Saturday in Florida, where the latest polls show the race essentially tied. A Trump rally was scheduled for Saturday in New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie, but was canceled after two of the governor's top aides were found guilty Friday of scheming to create massive traffic jams to punish a Democratic Party mayor.

The University of Virginia's Kondik says the election now hinges less on winning over undecided voters, and more on getting existing supporters to the polls.

"I think almost all voters have already made up their minds. I think the key question is whether voters decide to show up or not," he said.

For Clinton, that means a series of high-profile appearances in Ohio and Pennsylvania aimed at urging voters to show up at the polling stations.

Clinton was to host a concert with pop star Katy Perry Saturday in Philadelphia. On Monday, the final day of the campaign, the Democratic candidate will be back in the City of Brotherly Love for a rally with President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. Clinton hopes to turn out her supporters in a city considered key to winning Pennsylvania, one of the most crucial battlegrounds of the election.

On Friday, Clinton appeared on stage in Ohio at Cleveland's Wolstein Center with hiphop music star Jay Z and his glamorous wife Beyonce. The candidate told the boisterous crowd, "We have unfinished work to do, more barriers to break, and with your help, a glass ceiling to crack once and for all."

At a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, Donald Trump told the crowd he does not need celebrities to help energize his supporters.

"We don't need Jay Z to fill up arenas, you know. We do it the old fashioned way. ... We fill them up because you love what we're saying and you want to make America great again, that's about it."

XS
SM
MD
LG