Weekend cleanup on early voting

A few cleanup items on Monday morning.

Mike writes below about New Mexico.  The states that we are tracking are showing the same pattern.  Fairfax County (courtesy of Michael McDonald) is running way ahead of 2004.  North Carolina turnout is almost double what it was at this same date last year.  Georgia early turnout has already “eclipsed the total cast in 2004.” (AP),

Partisan trends are just now creeping in, and the numbers do not look good for the GOP.

In NC, Democratic and Nonaffiliated turnout is double what it was in 2004, while GOP turnout is only 60% higher.  In Georgia, African Americans make up 39% of early votes but are just 29% of overall registered voters.

Of course, there may be unknown reasons why Democratic voters are casting an early ballot but Republican voters are holding their ballots.  What must be causing concern for GOP strategists is that the trends listed above run contrary to all the prior patterns.  In 2004, for example, George Bush won the early vote 60%-40%.

Last correction: in Friday’s NY Times, Kirk Johnson writes

In other closely fought states, mostly in the Midwest and the South, data on mail-in (sometimes called absentee) voters are imprecise, but the numbers seem to be far fewer than in Colorado.

This is an incomplete description.  As you can see at the NC Board of Elections website, currently 2/3 of their “absentee” ballots are in fact being cast “one stop absentee.”  The by-mail requests tell only part of the story.  Similarly, Johnson writes that no more than 10% of Nevadans will cast a ballot by mail; but another 40% will probably cast an early in-person ballot.

If you are writing about the impact of early voting on campaigns, I think you have to consider both modes.