Despite Joe Biden consistently polling ahead of Donald Trump, most people I know have not yet allowed themselves to indulge the possibility that Trump may indeed be a one-term president. But there’s more reason to be cautiously optimistic about next month’s election results for those hoping to defeat Trump: So far, the majority of mail-in ballots are coming from Democratic-leaning districts in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida.
According to a New York Times report, voters from Dane County–a Democratic stronghold in Wisconsin—have sent in 10 percent more ballots than voters in other counties in the state, and the number of ballots from the county amount to more than 36 percent of the county’s final vote tally in 2016. Early ballot return data has also shown high turnout in blue cities like Pittsburg, Chapel Hill, and Tampa, which are all nestled in red states or purple states.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Florida and North Carolina are returning their requested mail-in ballots at much lower rates than Democrats.
Research shows that mail-in voting doesn’t favor either party, and Trump’s insistence that an election by mail would be “extremely devastating to Republicans” isn’t based in fact. And though mail-in voting can increase voter turnout—which is often discussed as a Democratic strategy for winning elections—studies have concluded that it’s basically impossible to tell whether increased turnout helps one party over another.
But it’s clear that Democrats are energized and ready to turn out to defeat Trump, and Republicans have responded to that with efforts to restrict people’s options for casting their ballots. As the Times points out, there’s still time for them to succeed, even with the massive head start Democrats have at the ballot box.