At least 34 million Americans cast votes early

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – At least 34 million Americans have cast ballots as of Monday in early midterm election voting, according to the University of Florida.

The University of Florida's Election Project has been tracking the number of early votes cast this year down to each state and then comparing them with the early voting totals for the past elections.

The tally exceeds the total amount of early votes in the 2014 midterm election, which was 27 million according to the New York Times.

Midterm elections generally do not draw as many voters as a presidential election. The number of early votes for the 2016 presidential election was at least 47 million, however, the current tally is much closer to that number than past midterm elections.

Voters will decide every U.S. House of Representative seat and more than one-third of Senate seats.

Voting totals have exceeded the previous totals in at least 27 states across the U.S.

The state of Florida has topped 5 million early votes, near the total number of overall votes cast by the state in 2014, which was around 6 million votes.

The University of Florida found 42 percent of early voters were Democrat while 36 percent Republican.

Early voting gives the electorate another option to cast their votes and is meant to make it easier to make it to the polls, however, some politicians claim it leads to voter fraud.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama encouraged early voting during his 2008 campaign and in 2012 became the first president to cast his ballot early.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a warning to so-called fraudsters.

“Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting). Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!" Trump said in a tweet Monday.

While laws vary from state to state, 37 offer some form of early voting.

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