Early voting numbers continue to smash records

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) The 2016 race is already breaking records for early voting. More than 26 million Americans have cast their ballots, and those numbers are expected to surge.

November 8th is just days away, but for millions of Americans, their ballots have already been submitted.

"Interestingly, some of these states have seen huge increases in early voting," said Michael Frias, the chief client and marketing officer with Catalist, a data firm that compiles voter registration information from all 50 states.

Frias has been focusing on collecting those statistics from battleground states, like Florida.

"In Florida, our data suggests that people are voting at a higher number than they had voted in 2012. There's a big bump in Latino turnout. Then, also we are seeing an increase with female voters and young voters," Frias explained.

Although, in states like Ohio and Iowa, the early voting numbers are lower than in the past.

"Ohio is one of those states where early voting is down just a bit, but broadly speaking, again, I think the turnout among Latinos and African Americans is slightly up," Frias said. “Iowa is a little bit like Ohio. Still women are much more likely to vote early than male voter counterparts.”

So, how do experts know what the early vote looks like when the ballots are secret? Researchers are able to draw conclusions based on the number of Democrats and Republicans who have voted, in combination with their gender and age.

“I think you could say in some states that maybe the early numbers look a little bit better for Donald Trump and others maybe they look a little bit better for Hillary Clinton," said Kyle Kondik with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Kondik says early voting data for Ohio and Iowa look promising for Donald Trump, while the numbers in Florida and Nevada give Clinton the advantage.

“Polls in Iowa and Ohio have suggested that Donald Trump may perform better in those states than Romney did," Kondik explained.

"The early voting in Nevada looks very similar to 2012, when Barack Obama carried he state by nearly 7 points. There's been a lot of indication that early voting among Hispanics is up in this election in both Florida and other states," he said.

Although, Kondik warns against jumping to conclusions.

“I would maybe urge against making broad sweeping generalizations from the early voting statistics," he said.

Experts predict 40 percent of the electorate will vote before November 8. In 2008, 29.7 percent of all ballots came through early voting. In 2012, that number climbed to 31.6 percent.

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