Gearing up for the final presidential debate as early voting numbers surge in Vigo County

Presidential candidates are preparing for the final national debate as early voting continues in communities across the country. There’s been a massive push to get out and vote. As a result, Vigo County has seen an impressive number of early voters for the 2020 election.

Posted: Oct 22, 2020 6:31 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Presidential candidates are preparing for the final national debate as early voting continues in communities across the country. There’s been a massive push to get out and vote. As a result, Vigo County has seen an impressive number of early voters for the 2020 election.

According to the Vigo County Clerk’s Office, there have been more than 15,000 early votes cast at locations across Vigo County over 14 days. That’s an average of more than 1,000 votes cast per day. With 9 days remaining, Vigo County is on pace to reach up around 25,000 early votes.

For comparison, in 2016 Vigo County cast just over 21,000 early votes, so there’s a definite increase locally. Political science professor at Rose-Hulman Terrence Casey says this is largely the case around the country.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic certainly has something to do with it. Voters want to cast their ballots when it’s less crowded. Casey also says people simply have a lot of motivation to vote in this particular presidential election.

Casey says there’s a lot of polarization. While this is the case, it’s not necessarily telling of how the election will turn out.

“This is certainly a significant election,” Casey said, “One of the challenges is that we know early voting is up. What we don’t know is who is voting and who they’re voting for. That early voting could be a lot of people voting for Biden, a lot of people voting for Trump, or it’s 50/50. We simply don’t know that just based on early voting numbers being up.”

For those who haven’t gotten out to the polls quite yet, there’s still time. Casey says Thursday night’s presidential debate may have an impact on which way those people are leaning.

Casey says the significance in this presidential debate mainly lies with Donald Trump’s performance.

“This is really the last big chance for Donald Trump to turn things around,” Casey explained, “Right now he is down in the national polls. He’s down in a lot of battleground states. This is going to be the last significant event before Election Day. If he’s going to change the momentum of the race, this is his last chance to do so.”

With early voting numbers being up so much, Casey says the debate does lose a little significance. He believes that people mostly have their minds made up and that there aren’t many undecided voters.

“What I think there may be perhaps a larger number of, and it’s a little hard to tease out until after the election, is the number of people who don’t particularly like either choice,” Casey concluded, “Their minds aren’t made up and it’s not because they are undecided, but because they have to choose between two options they don’t find particularly palatable.”

Thursday night’s debate is the final one before Election Day and it will feature a few changes. The candidates’ microphones will be muted while the other person responds; however, there will be time for discussion. Thursday night’s debate airs on WTHI beginning at 9 PM and is slated to last for two hours.

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