I just got off the phone with Good Morning America, and told them that my estimate is that 25 million ballots have already been cast.
I reach that figure by taking the 2002 turnout, provided by Michael McDonald at his excellent voter turnout webpage. He reports 80,295,249 in 2002.
I take that figure and add approximately 10,000,000 in population growth. I figure that will result in .30 x 10 million = 3,000,000 more voters in 2006 (a conservative turnout estimate).
Finally, I take my high end estimate of 30% early voters (justified in an earlier post), and you get .3 x 83,000,000 = 25 million voters have already cast their ballot. A nice round number, eh?
Another interesting feature of early voting is the early voting “calendar”–some states opened the early voting polls 40 days ago, while some just began a week ago. My able research assistant, Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum, has created an ‘early voting calendar’ and we’ve posted it at earlyvoting.net.
There is a really neat feature of this calendar that could have a tremendous impact on the 2008 presidential election, but more on that tomorrow.