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Update 11-09: Early Voting!

Updated on November 9, 2016

Final Comments - Early Voting

Where identified by party, the the return of ballots by Democrats exceeded Republicans by 1.7 million votes. In total, whether identified by party or not, over 47 million people voted in some way early. In total as of this statement at 10:12 am EST on November 9, the total number of votes cast in the Presidential election is about 124 million in total so the early vote constitutes 38 of the vote. We shall see over the next few years whether state officers move to increase or limit early voting.

If early voting data continues to be available for the next Presidential election, I hope to be back with data and analysis. Thanks to my readers and by the way, I was right on the mark in FL and NV.

Early Voting - Ballots Returned!

Dem %
Rep %
ME cd1
ME cd2
Early Voting Ballots Returned (where party affiliation is known). Original data from Secretary of State Offices and the Associated Press.

Analysis of early voting

Updated: November 8, 2016 [update #1]

This analysis is based on data available on Tuesday morning, November 8. Please note that the table above and this analysis will be updated if new information becomes available later today (Tuesday).

  1. The Republican ballot lead in AZ of over 7 points would appear at first glance to argue against the idea that the Democrats are making a real run there, unless the reverse logic holds here from IA (see below). There is no comparable ballot data by party from 2012 so we have no basis to know whether a 7 point deficit is impossible for the Democrats to overcome on Tuesday.
  2. The Democratic lead in CA of over 18 points is consistent with the polling lead. On Sunday the line at one polling place was over 4 hours long. Perhaps, there are not enough polling places - you think?
  3. In CO, early voting now slight favors the Republicans, with an advantage of less than one point. In 2012, early voting favored the Republican ballot by almost 2 points and Obama won CO by over 5 points. This data appears to be good news for the Democrats. As CO is a battleground state, this bears close watching.
  4. Until the report on Sunday, Republicans held a small advantage in early voting. However, Democrats have now gone ahead in the return ballots and hold an advantage of 1.7 points. In 2012, Democrats reportedly held nearly a 4 point lead in early voting, so the current data still might be good news for Republicans.
  5. Democrats hold a 8 point lead in IA. Republicans argue that only a single digit lead is actually good news for them. In 2012, the Democratic lead in early voting was 10 points and Obama won by 6 points. This information is more positive for the Democrats however than the polling outlook.
  6. Democrats hold a 7 point lead in LA, a state where Republicans are expected to win by a significant margin. In 2012, Democrats enjoyed a 17 point lead in early voting.
  7. In MD, Democrats hold a staggering 48 point lead. One has to wonder if the Republicans simply do not push early voting at all in MD and the Democrats have a fully mobilized machine. In 2012, the difference was 43.5% favoring the Democrats, so this year the Democrats are running more than 4 points better than four years ago.
  8. The importance of the early vote in ME is the difference between CD1 and CD2 of 14 points. Both favor the Democrats but in CD2 the difference is about 1/2 of the difference in CD1. As one electoral vote is up for grabs in CD2, the advantage that Democrats hold there could end up being significant. In 2012, the overall advantage for Democrats was 11 points, about 9 points less than 2016, which may be good news for the Democrats.
  9. In NC, Democrats have built a 13 point advantage, numbering over a 300,000 party ballot difference. This number might appear good at first blush. However, with the legal issues there, alleged voter intimidation, reported inconsistent implementation of the law, and the horrible flooding in parts, it is difficult to figure out what is really going on in NC. NC may be an outlier when it comes to increasing early turnout elsewhere. The legal noise is not going to end anytime soon in NC.
  10. The lead in NV in Democratic ballots of over 7 points is quite important, as most people vote by early ballot not on Tuesday in NV. In 2012, the Democrat early vote lead was 7 percent and Obama won by between 6 and 7 points. The consensus is that NV may be critical in this year's election.
  11. Overall, Democrats lead by more than 9 points, in states where ballot returns are identified and reported by party affiliation.


  • Most states do not release data on ballots returned by the person's party affiliation.
  • Where party affiliation is identified, the actual vote is not. As such, a Democrat could vote Republican or the reverse.
  • Independents participate in early voting and a returned ballot from an independent could mean anything, which is why I do not include a column for independents.


Can we expect people to vote early?

In the 2012 US presidential election, it is estimated that about 25% of the 125 million people who voted did so early. In FL, 8.3 million people voted and it is estimated that over half (4.3 million) voted early. This phenomenon is so significant that it results in one or both political parties wanting to change the rules. If the Democrats seem to be gaining an advantage by early voting in FL, as is the conventional wisdom, then the Republicans would want to attempt to restrict early voting. This process has become so important that major legal confrontations occur, where alleged discrimination is usually at the heart of the lawsuit.

In Iowa, where early voting begins 40 days before the election, out of 1.5 million votes cast in 2012, over 600,000 (out 40%) occurred before the election day, where most analysts believe the Democrats had a significant advantage.

In NV, it appears that over 70% of the votes were cast early (about 700,000 out of close to one million). In NV also, it is believed that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in early voting.

There is no reason to believe that we will see a drop in early voting in 2016. Until we see evidence to the contrary, we should be able to track data on early voting and develop analyses based on past results.

In-person absentee voting begins in MN on September 23.

Early voting dates

The information below is based on current research. However, you can expect that states, counties or local municipalities will handle weekdays and holidays in various ways. There is also the possibility that legal action taken in a given state could alter these dates. Please note that in-person absentee voting has the same net effect as early voting. You have go to a given location, complete and/or show certain information and then vote. Individuals in all-mail states will need to determine how a ballot by mail is specifically handled.

September 23 - September 29
MN: in-person absentee voting (9-23)
ME: in-person absentee voting (9-24)
VT: in-person absentee voting (9-24)
NJ: in-person absentee voting (9-24)
SD: in-person absentee voting (9-24)
IL: early voting (9-29)
IA: in-person absentee voting (9-29)
WY: in-person absentee voting (9-29)

October 4 - October 19
OH: in-person absentee voting (10-4)
NE: early voting (10-9)
MT: in-person absentee voting (10-9)
CA: early voting (10-10)
IN: in-person absentee voting (10-11)
AZ: early voting (10-13)
GA: early voting (10-17)
TN: early voting (10-19)

October 21 - October 24
WA: all mail (10-21)
TX: early voting (10-22)
NM: early voting (10-22)
NV: early voting (10-22)
WI: in-person absentee (10-24)
ID: in-person absentee (10-24)
AR: early voting (10-24)
ND: early voting (10-24)
CO: all mail voting (10-24)
AK: early voting and in-person absentee voting (10-24)

October 25 - November 4
LA: early voting (10-25)
UT: early voting (10-25)
WV: early voting (10-25)
MD: early voting (10-27)
NC: early (10-27)
MA: early voting (10-28)
HA: early voting (10-28)
FL: early (10-29)
DC: early voting (11-1)
KS: early voting (11-1)
OK: in-person absentee voting (11-3)
OR: all mail (11-4)


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