In this Sept. 26, 2016, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton answers a question during the presidential debate with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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More people are seeking or casting early ballots in the critical states of North Carolina and Florida than at this point in 2012, with Hillary Clinton the likely benefactor, as early voting shows signs of surging nationwide.Traditionally Republicans have done better initially with early mail-in ballots, before Democrats surpass them once in-person early voting begins.That's up from 8,326 ballots returned during a similar period in 2012 .At this point in 2012, Republicans had opened a wide lead over Democrats in returned ballots, 49 percent to 32 percent, leading to Mitt Romney's narrow win that state. While Romney was boosted by older whites who voted early by mail, white voters so far have been down this year, to 82 percent from 86 percent of submitted ballots. Black voters, more likely to cast ballots in person, were higher at 12 percent.Florida doesn't start absentee balloting until Tuesday, but already a record 2.5 million voters have requested ballots. Republicans are ahead in ballot requests, 43 percent to 38 percent.Trump is counting on that district's one electoral vote as part of his narrow path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
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