This story in the Corvallis Gazette Times caught my eye. State Sen. Frank Morse wants to ban third party delivery of ballots.
This time in Ashland, OR:
The lesson? Never count your votes until the votes are counted. And “early” early voters are very likely to be very different from “late” early voters.
We knew it would not take long for a candidate to claim a final surge missed by early voters.
Comparisons between rates of early voting in different election cycles are fraught with peril – in general, it’s important to compare this year to past midterm elections. That said, looking at the 2010 and 2008 numbers in Florida reveals a pretty impressive showing for Republicans.
Democratic voters are far below their 2008 turnout rate, which is precisely what we’d expect for a midterm election. The Republican rate, however, is not far off that of the 2008 presidential election!
These are just early in-person data*, but this makes the strong Republican turnout even more remarkable: Typically, Democrats take advantage of early in-person voting at much higher rates.
*Absentee-by-mail returns, which account for around 50% of Florida’s early voting, are restricted to political parties.
Michael McDonald has published his pre-election forecast of early vote at 28% of the total vote.
This strikes me as far too low; early voting constituted 15% in 2000, 20% in 2002, 22% in 2004, 25% in 2006, and 33% in 2008. It strikes me as very unlikely that the percent of ballots cast early would decline so substantially from 2008, even with the noted enthusiasm gap among Democrats.
I’ll similarly stick out my neck and project the percent of early ballots at 33%, the same as in 2008.
I think I see where Michael is getting his estimate – he shows approximately 18 million early ballots thus far (although there are some noticeable gaps in state reporting, and we don’t have the hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots in CA that will be dropped off today), and is comparing that to his overall turnout estimate of 40 million.
Michael and I differ on two points. First, he still reports on his webpage the early voting totals in 2008 as 30%, relying on the CPS. I think the much more reliable AP numbers peg the percent of early vote as 32.6% Second, I think he is projecting a decline in percent voting early, as witnessed from 2004 to 2006. I suspect to see less of a drop, as a few more states adopted relaxed early voting laws, and as many more Americans got used to voting early in 2008.
Unfortunately, Michael and I were never able to settle this bet in 2008 because of the lack of reliable data on early votes. Hopefully, he can buy my that bottle of whiskey in 2010!
The turnout numbers for Oregon, with four more days to go, are in, and it looks like Republican and Unaffiliated voters are returning their ballots at a higher clip than Democrats.
The two graphics below compare the turnout in 2006, with a line demarcating the Friday before Election Day, with the ballots processed thus far in 2010. Democrats are running 4,000 above 2006, small enough to be accounted for by population changes. 22,000 more GOP ballots have been returned than at this same point in 2006, and nearly 14,000 more Unaffiliated ballots have come back. The result is a partisan return advantage of only 18% in 2010, compared to a 25% gap at this same point in 2006. I’ve been hearing talk of major GOTV efforts occurring this weekend in many Democratically leaning areas of the state, and this explains why.
I have been communicating with friends and colleagues in Washington about how quickly ballots arrive and are counted in the state. The figures are fascinating, and if it is true that the Washington race may end up being crucial in determining control of the Senate, then the national media has better be prepared to wait for results.
Past history has been that 10% of WA voters return their vote by mail ballots immediately upon receipt. 30-40% of the ballots are returned by the Friday before the election (as of today, 38% of the ballots have been processed), and by Monday, approximately 50% of ballots will have been cast.
The remaining 50% come in Tuesday through Friday. And because Washington is a big military state, UOCAVA ballots arrive for weeks.
The 8pm returns from Washington will be meaningless. Firm conclusions about the Washington Senate race will not be possible until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest. And it’s quite possible that we’ll have to wait the full 21 days until Washington certifies its results.
Check out this story out of Fargo, ND:
Interesting points to notice:
- The state charges $3000 for what must involve pushing a button to generate a report. I wonder if they realize that less well-funded campaigns may not be able to shoulder that cost or that other states make this information available for a very low (or zero) cost.
- Check out the poll. 93% at current count say “don’t sell my information”! Of course, most of us in this field have long experienced citizen reactions (almost all negative) when they are told that turnout information is a public record.
Hat tip to electionline.org.
New poll out from Gallup. Implication: the rest of the campaign out West is all about young voters.