Every presidential election is a milestone in our nation’s history, and deservedly generates a lot of excitement. The 2020 election was especially tense. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted an expansion of early and mail-in voting options. In some places, returns were so close that the counting of mail-in ballots continued for days before the results were in and the winners declared.
While Maryland’s overall outcome was not a nail-biter, it’s still interesting to look at the pattern of preference for president across our state, the margins of victory, and the winners when broken down by voting method. TU’s Center for GIS has assembled a few maps to help you take a closer look at county-level 2020 presedential election returns in Maryland.
- Fourteen of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions went red, with two of those red counties (Wicomico and Calvert) seeing close races with less than a 6% margin between candidates. Talbot and Kent County are seeing especially close races; while the data is still unofficial, the current margins between candidates are under 2%.
- Switching to the second map, where the number of votes are indicated by sized dots, helps us visualize differences in population between counties in central Maryland and the more rural counties to the west, south and east. As this popular visualization of 2016 election results shows, although the map appears to be mostly red this is offset by more densely populated Democratic areas.
- We created several swipe maps to explore how Marylanders across the state chose to vote in the 2020 presidential election and what insights this may provide into voting method preferences by candidate. Through this, we can see that:
- Six of our blue counties went red if only the votes cast on election day were counted (Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Kent, Talbot and Baltimore County). Election day voters accounted for approximately 14.6% of all presidential votes cast in Maryland.
- Although the early voting map is more red than blue, overall, early voters were nearly evenly split between the Republican and Democratic candidates.
- Mail-in ballots accounted for approximately 49% of all presidential votes in the state, with 83% of mail in voters voting Democratic.
- A majority of voters in each county voted in favor of Question 1, to give legislators more control over the state budget, and Question 2 to expand commercial gaming. These measures passed with statewide support of approximately 74% and 67%, respectively. Looking at the county breakdown of results, we can see that support for Question 1 tends to be higher in the blue counties of central Maryland.
Unofficial election results from the Maryland State Board of Elections as of 11/16/20.
Thank you to my colleague Alex Mikulski for supporting data and map development.