Saturday, September 17, 2016

A week's worth of NC accepted mail-in ballots & an interesting trend

We now have a week's worth of North Carolina mail-in absentee ballots, both requested and returned & accepted, and an interesting trend seems to be emerging.

Again, a cautionary tale: this may be an early trend that reverts back to the norm of what we saw in 2012's general election when it comes to accepted mail-in ballots, but this first week seems to indicate a potential strong interest in this year's general election.

First, here's the breakdown of requested ballots and their status (the first line are ballots that have not be returned) through Friday, Sept. 16:

Over 50,000 ballots have been requested, with nearly 1,500 returned and accepted as votes (there are nearly 150 ballots returned that were deficient in some way).

Next, I tracked the cumulative accepted mail-in ballots by party registration over the past week:

Next is the comparison to the same day as in 2012 and where things stand in 2016. While registered Democrats in 2012 took an early lead, by a week and a half into the returned 2012 mail-in and accepted ballots period, registered Republicans took the lead and maintained it for the rest of the period leading up to the November election.

Right now, total returned and accepted ballots are running at 300 percent of the same day in 2012, with the following breakdowns by party registration:

  • Registered Democrats: 316 percent ahead of where they were the same day in 2012
  • Registered unaffiliated voters: 461 percent ahead of where they were the same day in 2012
  • Registered Republicans: 234 percent ahead of where they were the same day in 2012

Finally, of the nearly 48,500 ballots requested that are still outstanding, the percentage breakdown by party registration is:

Again, understanding that we are only in the first week of mail-in North Carolina absentee ballots, the trend line seems to indicate a real interest in this year elections. If the trend lines continue to show an above average performance to 2012, we may start to see an indication that this could be something to watch more closely as we get to November. Another aspect that will need some further analysis would be: are these voters ones who voted in 2012, and if so, how did they vote: did they cast ballots in-person and have switched to mail-in to "get their ballot counted", or some other explanation? Further data analysis will be done in the future to see what 'kind' of voter (new, repeat mail-in, new mail-in but voted in person) are currently in this aspect of the ballots race.