As of Oct. 27, over 3.4 million votes had been cast across the state through mail-in and in-person early voting, according to the nonprofit Civitas Institute’s VoteTracker. Those watching the election say they haven’t yet seen anything out of the ordinary thus far — but they’re leaving as little as possible to chance.
Many Republican candidates have continued to build voter support through traditional in-person campaign events such as rallies and fundraising concerts. In contrast, Democrats have largely relied on virtual efforts such as phone banking or Zoom calls, eschewing big events out of concern they might encourage spread of the coronavirus.
“We used to talk about presidents and members of Congress having permanent campaigns, meaning they never really stop campaigning, and I think the same thing has now trickled down to the state level,” says Chris Cooper, head of Western Carolina University’s Political Science and Public Affairs Department.