Over 32 million vote early in US presidential election

Washington, Nov 4 (IANS) Over 32 million voters have already cast their ballots by Thursday to choose the next US President, but mixed trends still leave much in uncertainty.

Statistics gathered by the University of Florida show though overall early voter number remained steady, reaching 71 per cent of that in 2012, state turnout rates and early voter demographic have changed considerably, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the key swing states of Florida and North Carolina, which are believed to hold the biggest sway in the outcome, early voter turnout has reached 101 and 84 per cent of that in 2012.

Other states with particularly enthusiastic voters include Massachusettes, which traditionally supports the Democratic Party, and Louisiana, a red state.

In addition, numbers showed that black early voter turnout dropped 18 per cent compared with the 2008, which does not bode well for Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, who lacks the popularity the sitting President Barack Obama enjoys among blacks.

Despite changing trends, experts say it is too early to make predictions for the big question.

Seth Masket, a political scientist from University of Denver, warned against reading too much into early voting results, as past records have showed that it “very weakly” predicts the final result.

According to state voting laws, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow voters to cast their ballots in person or through mail prior to the election day, while six states allow absentee voting with an excuse and seven do not allow any form of early voting.