By Nora Quintanilla
New York, Oct 24 (efe-epa).- New York state began early voting Saturday for the United States presidential election on Nov. 3, with more than 56 million people in the country already having exercised their early voting rights, a notable turnout that includes President Donald Trump.
With 10 days until the election, Democratic New York is the second last state, ahead of Oklahoma, to open its early voting centers, an option that this year has spurred a massive turnout throughout the country, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although there are several states such as Connecticut, Missouri, New Hampshire and Delaware that do not offer this possibility.
Many of the nearly 13 million registered voters in New York state got up early to deposit their vote in the ballot box for the first time, forming long lines in the streets when most of the 88 centers opened in the five districts.
“We all have to vote, especially the Latinos who are here in this country. Wherever we are from, we have to vote so that things are fixed,” a woman who identified herself as Benita told EFE. She went to vote early in the morning in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City.
“I will wait until tomorrow if necessary. I want to make sure that Trump leaves and that my vote counts, since there could be confusion. I am a New Yorker, we worry,” added Persio Paulino, a retired Dominican who was waiting a block away from the center in Madison Square Garden stadium in Manhattan.
Early voting in person also began Saturday in Los Angeles County, California, which has the largest and most complex electoral jurisdiction in the country, with 5.7 million registered voters.
Even Trump decided to vote in advance, after changing his address last year from his native New York to Florida. He went to cast his vote Saturday morning in a public library in West Palm Beach, close to his Mar-a-Lago mansion.
“I voted for a guy named Trump,” the president told reporters.
Before continuing with his campaign trips, he assured that “everything was perfect” and that “it’s an honor to be voting” in a state that in the last elections gave him victory by a narrow margin, and that as a swing state is coveted in the election.
According to the latest official data compiled by the US Elections Project, as of Saturday, more than 56 million people have voted in advance throughout the country.
Some 38 million have done so by mail and another 17 million in person, and the states that have registered the most early votes so far are Texas (6.86 million), California (6.37 million), Florida (5.28 million), North Carolina (2.70 million) and Georgia (2.33 million).
The greater participation is influenced by the pandemic, which has led many to want to avoid crowds, as well as the political polarization generated by the management of the coronavirus crisis, the economic recession and the protests against systemic racism, but also a series of legislative changes at electoral level.
As in New York, these are the first elections in which people can vote in person in advance in Virginia. Texas extended the period to deposit a ballot in advance, and other states have eliminated the requirement to justify an inability to go in person on election day and have sent ballots directly to registered voters for them to do so via mail.
According to around 20 state administrations that compile the political affiliation of voters, so far the Democrats who have gone to the polls (49.6 percent) almost double Republicans (27.5 percent), while 22 percent were not recorded to be linked to any party.
The large influx of voters before election day is a concern for Republicans, since generally those who go to the polls early are demographic groups such as Hispanics and African Americans, among which the proportion of Democrats is higher.
The RealClearPolitics website, which draws up polling averages, this Saturday gave Democratic candidate Joe Biden an advantage of 8.1 points over Trump, but that difference was reduced to 3.8 points in states where both Democrats and Republicans prevail, where both politicians will concentrate their campaign efforts. EFE-EPA