Previously, I was comparing the first few days in each election to each other, with the finding that this year's numbers in the first few days were considerably down in comparison to the 2010 numbers.
But in looking deeper at the numbers, I decided to count back from the election day for both years and then do a straight comparison, based on the number of days out from the election.
Well, to say the least: that changes the whole ballgame in looking at this year's election so far.
A note: this year's mail-in ballots were accepted ten days before the first ballots were accepted in 2010, and so I recalculated using the number of days out from the election to make a straight day-to-day comparison of mail-in ballots coming in during the two years.
The above graph shows days 43 through 37 before Election Day, with the bar graphs showing 2010's cumulative absentee mail-in ballots that came in by party registration of the voter. The first day that the first mail-in absentee ballots were accepted in 2010 was 43 days from the election; 23 ballots were accepted that day.
In the graph, the three numbers above the "43 day" show the number of Democratic (689), Republican (549), and unaffiliated (281) voters who have returned their ballots and have them accepted as votes in this year's election. So, in comparison to 2010, today (September 23, 2014) marks 43 days out from Election Day on November 4, and we have a cumulative total of 1,519 ballots accepted as votes.
So what might this mean? While 2010 was notable for the GOP enthusiasm created by the Tea Party movement, it appears that, at least in this year in North Carolina, the enthusiasm is definitely there on all sides, but what is more remarkable is the surge that Democrats have really made in their use of what has traditionally been a Republican stronghold in voting methods.
Is it because of the reduction in early voting and Democrats realized that they need to get their votes in the bank? Is it because voters really are energized by this year's election? We won't really know, but something seems to be going on with this year's election that many may not be predicting for a standard boring mid-term election.