Demographic breakdowns of North Carolina early voting

Following my earlier post about high early voting rates in North Carolina, we’ve had a little longer to play with the extensive live data provided by its State Board of Elections. There are some notable patterns in demography.

Traditionally, academics have found evidence that early voters tend to be white, well-educated, and wealthier than the average voter.Paul Gronke and Daniel Toffey. 2008. “The Psychological and Institutional Determinants of Early Voting.” Journal of Social Issues 64.3: 503-524. There’s also a tendency for them to vote Republican (President Bush won 60% of the nationwide early vote in 2004).

However, as the graphs below show, African-Americans are currently voting early at almost half the rate of whites. This large percentage not only belies the conventional wisdom about who votes early, but is also well out of proportion to the population of black citizens in North Carolina. African-Americans only account for around 20% of registered voters in the state.

The obvious follow-up question: who are these African-Americans voting for? Well, you probably know the answer, and the high rates of Democratic turnout should be a clue, but here’s the breakdown of these voters’ registered party affiliations. Striking.

The First Week: NC’s “Onestop” Early Voters
Race Democrat Republican Unaffiliated
White 196,170 152,515 86,334
Black/African-American 194.743 2,897 16,518
Other 13,933 3,137 8,528
Data captured on 10/24, at 01:30 PST

The breakdowns by age are more in line with expectations, and there don’t appear to be strong differences between Republicans and Democrats. The Republican peak is clearly a little older (in the 60s), although overall the mean age of Democratic voters is only slightly (1.5 years) lower. Note the little spike at the young end for both parties though!

Early voting technology in Florida

Conny McCormack, formerly of the LA County elections office, reviewed Florida elections in two large counties (Hillsborough and Miami-Dade) during their fall primary. She warns of the high likelihood of long lines during early voting–a prediction that is coming all too true.

North Carolina early voting rates skyrocket

The first data from North Carolina show the trend that we’ve seen in many states across the country so far––soaring rates of early voting, across party lines. The graphs below show rates of “one-stop” (in-person early) voting in the state. I’ve included our graphs from 2004 for comparison.

On the first day alone, around twice the number of Republican and non-affiliated voters turned out compared to 2004, while Democrats showed a remarkable 400% increase on the earlier election. Looking at the cumulative returns, we can see that Democrats have cast nearly as many votes in the first five days as they did in the entire one-stop voting period in 2004.

Click any of the graphs for a larger image.

North Carolina > 2004 General > Daily Early In-Person Returns North Carolina > 2004 General > Cumulative Early In-Person Returns

Welcome to Election ’08

Welcome to a preview of EVIC’s new and improved website. We know we’re a little late to the game––early voting is already well underway, as you know from the huge press coverage it is receiving.

All the same, we hope to use this website as a clearinghouse for some of the more important and notable early and absentee voting news over the next two to three weeks. In addition to some analysis of events, we’ll also be posting graphs of early voting (see our historical archive) ballot trends in major battleground states, data permitting.

You can still access all the information from our old site. Ultimately though, this new format will serve as the engine for EVIC’s new website in the Winter; consider this a soft launch!