Multiple states across the country, including Ohio, Georgia, and Texas, had a record number of voters show up for early in-person voting on Tuesday. Americans had to wait hours in line despite the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and states deciding to expand mail-in voting.
In Ohio, people are voting early in record numbers – with triple the number voting early (in person) compared to the same point in 2016, according to the Sec of State’s office. Officials say absentee ballot requests are nearly double what they were at this point in 2016, as well.— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) October 14, 2020
This early voting line in Marietta, Georgia, spanned multiple blocks. Long lines were reported at several Georgia polling places as early voting began on Monday pic.twitter.com/VTIFz6Mylg— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 13, 2020
Georgia voters flood polling stations in record-breaking numbers on first day of early voting https://t.co/sLLiUNsidK— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 14, 2020
With just over 100,000 votes in, we have officially surpassed the turnout record for any Early Voting day. The previous record was set on the last day of Early Voting in 2016. Still a couple hours left. VOTE!!— Chris Hollins (@CGHollins) October 13, 2020
Mainstream media outlets, like CNN, MSNBC and NBC News, continually push the notion that Americans are voting early because they're energized this election cycle.
"I have voted before, always in person and I’ve never waited this long which I’m hoping is actually a good sign for this year’s election turnout. I’m feeling really optimistic at how seriously people are going to take this election," 31-year-old Kathleen Campbell told NBC. "Everyone is patiently waiting to get to the polls inside and I don’t think I’ve seen one person without a mask on."
The general feel of the stories was that people are enthusiastic to vote President Trump out of office.
"Nonwhite voters are seven times more likely than white voters to wait in line for more than an hour to vote, according to a 2017 study" https://t.co/DfvUj5YVfv— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) October 14, 2020
CNN's Jake Tapper made the argument that what President Trump says on Twitter doesn't matter, that the only thing that matters, at the end of the day, is what local election officials say.
CNN’s @jaketapper on voting and what to expect: “There will clearly be an attempt by some in politics, perhaps even President Trump, to argue that only those votes cast in-person should count, but that’s not the law and the President’s tweets do not matter” pic.twitter.com/7HUFX6VJ4o— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) October 13, 2020
These long lines aren't about enthusiasm. How many Democrats are truly energized to vote for Joe Biden (other than his wife and campaign staff, which, even then, is iffy)? Very few.
What these record-setting numbers should tell us is that Americans don't trust the vote-by-mail system. They don't trust the USPS to deliver their ballots to election officials in a timely manner, if at all. Others are concerned that their ballots will somehow be "forgotten" about in another room.
Democrats argued for months that people wouldn't feel safe going to vote in-person. They said that election officials had to make some kind of exemption for the coronavirus pandemic. States scrambled to move predominantly to voting by mail, which, obviously, had its challenges. The Republican National Committee questioned processes for absentee voting for states who hadn't done it before, like how voter rolls were purged for those who have died or moved. There were also questions about what would happen if someone voted in-person and again by mail. Would there be some sort of cross referencing that prevented them from voting multiple times?
Remember: over the last six months we've seen a number of issues with voter integrity. A couple months ago a Democratic operative talked about how he trained dozens of people to fraudulently vote in New Jersey and New York. When a reporter in Philadelphia conducted an experiment to see how many ballots were returned, three percent were missing. In places like Nevada voters were receiving multiple ballots from multiple political parties.
Democrats need to stop looking at this as an enthusiasm play and look at it more as a concern. If droves of people are willing to vote in-person during a pandemic that says more about our election system – especially mail-in ballots – than anything.