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More than 5.5M people have already voted, over 70 times more than 2016

More than 5.5 million people have already voted ahead of the Nov. 3 elections as the coronavirus pandemic spurs a surge in absentee and early voting. 

With just less than four weeks until Election Day, the number of ballots mailed in and in-person votes cast early surpassed the 5.5 million mark Wednesday, according to the United States Elections Project, which compiles early voting data. That figure is more than 73 times the number of votes that were cast at this point in 2016. 

Florida and Virginia have led the spike in early voting, with more than 947,000 and nearly 770,000 votes being cast in each state, respectively. 

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“We’ve never seen this many people voting so far ahead of an election,” Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, who runs the project, told Reuters Tuesday. “People cast their ballots when they make up their minds, and we know that many people made up their minds long ago and already have a judgment about Trump.”

In states that report voter registration data by party, 1.2 million Democrats have returned mail-in ballots compared with just over 505,000 Republicans, indicating that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE’s consistent and unsubstantiated remarks saying mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud may be impacting the willingness of the GOP to vote by mail. 

Polls have shown former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Trump campaign eyes election night party at his sold-out DC hotel Harris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' MORE expanding his national lead over President Trump while holding narrower advantages in most swing states.