WASHINGTON (AP) — Two months before Election Day, early voting kicks off next week in North Carolina, the first in a run of key states where minority voters and young adults who cast ballots in advance could give one of the White House contenders a decisive advantage.
For Donald Trump, it’s a major test of whether his recent outreach to non-white groups is translating into votes. In the increasingly diverse battleground states of North Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia — all must-win states for Trump, except Colorado — it’s minorities in particular who can tip the scales.
Early voters are expected to make up between 50 to 75 percent or more of all ballots in the six states, based on 2012 figures. That’s compared to a national average of 35 percent, up from 22 percent in 2004, according to election data compiled by The Associated Press.
Mail-in ballots are popular among older, white Republicans, and party officials are betting they can bank plenty of their votes. But in several swing states, Hispanics, blacks and first-time voters typically have been more likely than whites to cast ballots early — and cast them for Democrats. Therein lies the challenge for team Trump.