Hundreds of people wait in line for early voting on Monday, October 12 in Marietta, Georgia [Ron Harris/AP]

Early voting has started in more than 20 states ahead of the November 3 United States presidential election and already, the turnout has far surpassed past contests, leading some experts to project record-breaking participation this year.

More than 25 million ballots have been cast through in-person early ballots and mail-in voting as of Saturday, the United States Election Project said, which corresponds to more than 18 percent of all the votes counted in the 2016 presidential race.

But that early voter engagement, in part fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, has also led to new challenges, as long lines and hours-long waits were reported at polling

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