24 October 2010

Early voting in Maryland, projections after two days

During the early voting period prior to the September 2010 primary election, 77,288 people voted early, which represented 2.44% of all eligible voters.  Over the six day period, the numbers were as follows (with percentage of early voting total by day):

Day 1 (9/3/10): 14,049 (18.18% of all early voters)
Day 2 (9/4/10): 8,891 (11.50%)
Day 3 (9/6/10): 10,076 (13.04%)
Day 4 (9/7/10): 12,347 (15.98%)
Day 5 (9/8/10): 13,844 (17.91%)
Day 6 (9/9/10): 18,081 (23.39%)

What you see is strong initial enthusiasm, followed by an immediate drop and then a gradually increasing rise to the last day.

Here are the numbers so far for the early voting period prior to the November 2010 general election (with percentage increase from the primary election):

Day 1 (10/22/10): 32,131 (+229% since Day 1 of primary election)
Day 2 (10/23/10): 28,282 (+318%)

What we see so far is that the big drop on day two during the primary election early voting period doesn't really show up.  The total number of voters drops a bit, by percentage-wise a bigger increase of voters showed up.

Through the first two days, 60,413 people voted; this represents a 263% increase over the 22,940 people that voted through the first two days of the primary election early voting period.  The first two days represented nearly 30% of all early voters.

Monday turnout: Based upon numbers we have seen thus far and comparing them to numbers from the primary election early voting period, we can estimate ~26,500 people will vote statewide on Monday (although this could likely range anywhere from 23,000 to 32,000).

Overall turnout: While additional days will help to refine the numbers, we can make a rough projection that at least 200,000 people (and quite possibly many more) will vote during the general election early voting period.  Given the strong turnout on the second day (as compared to the second day of primary election early voting), I would lean toward the final number being higher than 200,000.  Also consider that there are roughly 300,000 more eligible voters for the general election (those voters who parties were not on the ballot were not eligible to vote in September).  It is certainly conceivable that we could see upwards of 250,000 early voters.

September's early voting turnout was 2.44% of all eligible voters; general election early voting turnout is initially projected to be somewhere between 6-7%.

Partisan turnout: Finally, what about partisan turnout? In September, registered Republicans represented 28.90% of all eligible voters and cast 28.02% of all early votes.  Now, registered Republicans represent 26.69% of all eligible voters (again, because of the addition of many voters who were otherwise-ineligible in September) and have cast 27.38% of all early votes. In September, registered Democrats represented 61.39% of all eligible voters and cast 70.87% of all early votes (not surprising, given that in such a heavily Democratic state, the primary election often is the election).  Now, registered Democrats represent 56.43% of all eligible voters and cast 63.56% of all early votes.  So there actually appears to be at least a little bit of an "early voter enthusiasm" advantage to Democrats.  However, this should be qualified since there is no prior election cycle to compare.  For example, in 2008, the Democrats had a nationwide 16.6% advantage in early voting; so far this year that advantage appears to have dropped precipitously to 1.7%.
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