With in-person voting presenting a risk to Covid-19 transmission, many states opted to expand mail-in and early voting. The spread of Covid-19 led to 16 Democracy Primaries being postponed or changed to vote-by-mail with the deadline extended.
It was therefore crucial for states to take steps to ensure that the presidential election could go ahead smoothly, without any voter being deterred from voting as a result of fear of infection.
The option to cast an early vote in person is also an effective measure to reduce the chance of Covid-19 transmission, as spreading voting over a longer period means voters are less likely to come into close contact with each other.
Voting-by-mail is Covid-secure, and in this election only five states require a legitimate reason to vote-by-mail; in all others votes-by-mail are issued automatically or are available to all registered voters who request one.
As a result, it is estimated that 80 million postal votes will be cast ahead of 3rd November, more than double the number in 2016.
Vote-by-mail records are being broken at the state level too, with Texas breaking the state’s record for the most ballots cast on the first day of early voting.
In Florida, before in-person early voting began, 2.5 million votes had been cast by mail and in Georgia, voting-by-mail has increased by 648% from 2016.
The expansion of early in-person voting and voting-by-mail has been hugely successful in enabling levels of democratic engagement that were threatened by Covid-19.