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A workers prepares absentee ballots for mailing at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. North Carolina is scheduled to begin sending out more than 600,000 requested absentee ballots to voters on Friday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Democrats lead in absentee ballot requests in Florida and North Carolina

With eight weeks until the November presidential election, Democrats in two key battleground states are leading Republicans in absentee ballot requests, according to a CNN analysis.

In Florida, over 480,000 more Democrats have requested absentee ballots than Republicans, while in North Carolina, over 260,000 more Democrats have requested absentee ballots than Republicans.

The Democrats’ lead in absentee ballot requests in those two states doesn’t necessarily indicate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a significant advantage over President Donald Trump, however. CNN currently rates both of these states as battlegrounds with neither candidate having a clear advantage.

Over 3.2 million active registered voters in Trump’s home state of Florida had requested absentee ballots as of Friday evening, despite the President’s unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting is rife with voter fraud. About 46% of those active voters requesting ballots so far are Democrats, while about 31% are Republican, according to data from the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections. Data show there were slightly more active registered Democrats than Republicans in the Sunshine State as of the end of July.

In North Carolina, more than 758,000 voters had requested absentee ballots as of Friday evening. Slightly over half of those requests were from Democrats, according to data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Voter registration data from last week indicates Democrats make up over 35% of registered voters in the state, compared to about 30% that are Republicans.

Last week, Trump appeared to encourage voters in North Carolina to vote twice by sending in their ballots by mail and then trying to vote in person, as a way to check their initial vote was counted. This suggestion received strong pushback from experts and state elections officials, and North Carolina’s attorney general said that what Trump was suggesting would “break the law.” Americans are allowed to vote only once during an election.

As of CNN’s count late Friday for states that have made the data available, more than 11.8 million absentee ballots have been requested so far in 12 states, including Florida and North Carolina, for the November election, as voters are shifting toward voting by mail and early voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Among those states are battlegrounds such as Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

This does not include the nine states and Washington, DC, that are conducting their elections primarily by mail and will automatically send ballots to registered voters when they become available.

Not all states report their data by party, as many don’t have party registration. And numerous studies have found that neither party automatically benefits from expanded access to mail-in voting.

In a recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS, 68% of Trump supporters said they prefer to vote in-person on Election Day, as opposed to 21% of Biden supporters. About half of the former vice president’s supporters say they prefer to vote by mail.

Author: Liz Stark and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
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