More than 10 million early votes in U.S. presidential election: study

FILE PHOTO: A voter fills out his ballot in Margaret Johnson's living room, which serves as voting place, on Super Tuesday in Allen, Oklahoma, U.S., March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

(Reuters) - U.S. voters have cast more than 10 million votes for the Nov. 3 presidential election, significantly outpacing the early vote in 2016 and suggesting a large turnout, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

The surge in early voting comes amid a stubborn novel coronavirus pandemic that has led to a surge of early and mail balloting, particularly among Democrats.

Republican President Donald Trump has sowed confusion and distrust of mail balloting, making repeated, unfounded allegations of widespread fraud ahead of his contest with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

As of Monday night, nearly 10.4 million Americans have cast a vote in states that report early voting data, according to the election information resource at the University of Florida.

By way of comparison, as of Oct. 16, 2016, some 1.4 million Americans had cast an early vote.

The number of ballots cast in five states - Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin - already exceeds 20% of total 2016 turnout, the Elections Project said.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York and Jarrett Renshaw in Pennsylvania; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel