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Two weeks until Election Day, Democrats have a big lead in early voting

Two weeks before Election Day, early votes have come in from almost every state and Democrats have a clear edge in ballots already cast, according to NBC News’ Early Voting tracker.

More than 29 million people from 45 states have voted as of Tuesday morning, either by mail or in person. Nearly half of those votes — almost 14.2 million ballots — have come from Democratic-affiliated voters. Republican-affiliated voters have returned almost 10.1 million ballots. And while not every Democrat will vote for former Vice President Joe Biden and not every Republican will vote for President Donald Trump, Democrats currently have a 14-point edge in returned ballots.

The early voting data is provided by the political data firm TargetSmart. Nationwide numbers on party affiliation are based on a combination of state-provided registration data, when available, and TargetSmart’s model of party affiliation.

Nine states have each already seen more than 1 million ballots cast. That list includes several of the 2020 battleground states, like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan and Ohio.

Democrats have returned more ballots in 32 states, though the margins are tighter in some battleground states than in others. In Florida and Minnesota, Democratic early votes are outpacing Republicans by more than 20 percentage points. In New Hampshire, Democratic early voters are ahead by 36 points. But the parties are neck-and-neck in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

The vote totals, which are up more than 350 percent from this time in 2016, have caught the attention of party officials in many states, with state Democratic parties saying the results are a return on an investment.

“The Texas Democratic Party has put a lot of investment into ensuring that Texas turns blue, and we’re seeing this investment play out in real-time,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “This is a good start but we have to continue to do the work. We’re not taking anything for granted.”

Texas Republicans see it differently, according to the state’s GOP communication director, Luke Twombly, who said: “We expect to see our share of the turnout percentage climb with each passing day.”

Tony Zammit, communications director for Michigan’s Republican Party, thinks the party has an advantage over state Democrats due to door-knocking in large numbers.

“We have a comprehensive strategy on getting out votes, focusing on absentee ballots but more on Election Day,” he said.

Zammit also expects Republican voters to show up come Nov. 3.

“We feel pretty confident that when votes are counted that the Republican Party will be victorious,” he said.