Sunday, November 6, 2016

NC's Early Voting Is In the Books, with a Record Number of Ballots

With Saturday's close to in-person absentee voting, and the last trickle of mail-in absentee ballots, North Carolina has set a new record in early voting: over 3 million ballots banked for this year's general election on Tuesday.

A few more ballots will come in over the next few days, especially by mail-in method, so we will need to track those over time.

In comparison to 2012's same day totals two days before the election, 2016's total ballots are 12.2 percent ahead of where they were four years ago. Among all of the absentee ballots, 42 percent have come from registered Democrats, 32 percent from registered Republicans, and 26 percent from registered unaffiliated voters.

And while registered Democrats saw their total ballots slip from their same-day totals in 2012 (down 1.5 percent by sent date), registered Republicans are 13.4 percent ahead of their same day totals from 2012 while the big news continues to be the surge in registered unaffiliated voters casting ballots: they finished 41.2 percent ahead of their same day cumulative totals from 2012.

In reviewing the race of voters who have submitted absentee ballots, 71 percent have come from white voters, an increase of 18 percent over their same day totals from 2012, while 22 percent have come from black voters, a decrease of 9 percent from their same day totals from four years ago, and 'all other races' (including Asian, Indian American, multi-racial, and other races) are at 7 percent, with an increase of 51 percent over their 2012 same-day totals.

Ultimately, ballots from black voters are down 69,353, with some still coming in over the next few days. This deficit from black voters was at 26 percent down at one point in the early voting cycle.

Men have finally cut 'somewhat' into the percentage disparity between the sexes: 55 percent of the total absentee ballots are from women, down from their high point of 57 percent.

Among female voters, 46 percent came from registered Democrats (down slightly in their overall percentages), 30 percent from registered Republicans, and 24 percent from registered unaffiliated voters. Among male voters, 36 percent were from Democrats, 35 percent from Republicans, and 28 percent from unaffiliated voters.

Out of these 3.1 million mail-in and in-person absentee ballots cast, slightly over 3 million have been accepted as votes for Tuesday's election:

Accepted Absentee Ballots:

Among the 3,098,544 accepted mail-in and in-person ballots, the party registration break down is:

Among the racial composition of these accepted absentee ballots (both mail-in and in-person):

With the vast bulk (95 percent) of accepted absentee ballots are done by in-person, the analysis now shifts to looking at this critical block of votes accepted for Tuesday's election.

Accepted In-Person Absentee Ballots:

Of the 3 million accepted absentee ballots, 2.9 of them are from in-person, with 42 percent from registered Democrats, 31 percent from registered Republicans, and 26 percent from registered unaffiliated voters.

In comparison to their same day totals in 2012, accepted in-person ballots are ahead 15 percent, up more than 376,000 ballots from four years ago:

Among the party registration of accepted in-person absentee ballots and their comparison to 2012:

Registered Democrats are slightly behind their 2012 total numbers so far (down 1 percent, or nearly 17,500 ballots), registered Republicans are up 20 percent in accepted in-person ballots (more than 156,000 ballots), and registered unaffiliated voters, which are indeed the true wild-card this year, are up 44 percent in their accepted in-person absentee ballots, with over 234,000 more ballots than they cast at the end of 2012's early voting period.

The daily percentages for the second week of early voting in North Carolina:

The racial composition of accepted in-person absentee ballots in North Carolina shows 70 percent of the total ballots coming from white voters, but among the party registrations, a tale of different voting groups:

The daily percentages showed that more minority voters showed up yesterday than they have been, but below their daily percentage from four years ago:

Moving on to the analysis of how accepted in-person ballot voters cast their ballots from four years ago:

Based on the above information, we are definitely seeing a shift in how voters who participated four years ago are participating this year, with 19 percent of 2012 'on Election Day' voters casting early ballots this year, with 5 percent not having voted in 2012 but voting this year, and 17 percent being 'new voters' to early voting (having registered after 2012's election).  I'll try to do some further analysis by party registration within this group of voters later today.

The great question, along with the surge of unaffiliated voters, is ultimately what will the 2016 electorate size be like: under or over the 4.5 million ballots cast in 2012?  We will have to wait until Tuesday evening to start seeing the vote totals come in.

Next, the analysis of different factors, namely the region of the state (urban, suburban, and rural counties), whether the voter is a native to the state or born outside of the state, and then the generational cohort that they belong to; first, the region of the state continues to show a strong domination by urban voters, with their party registration figures:

It is likely that one-half of the ballots this year will come from 12 out of 100 counties, and those are urban areas. More than three-quarters of all the accepted in-person ballots have come from urban and suburban counties.

Next, by native vs. those voters not-born in North Carolina:

Non-native born voters continue their majority of the accepted in-person absentee ballots being sent in.

Finally, an interesting development has occurred among the generational cohorts:

Millennials are now 20 percent of the accepted in-person ballots, having made up considerable ground in their overall percentages. Baby Boomers have dropped to 41 percent from a high of 46 percent, with Silent/Greatest generation also slipping in their composition of final accepted in-person absentee ballots. More analysis on this will come later as well.

Turnout Rates For Accepted Absentee Ballots:

With over 3 million registered voters having cast accepted absentee ballots out of a potential 6.8 million registered voters, I began to calculate the 'turnout' rate so far using just these accepted absentee ballots against the registered voter block.

First, the overall turnout rate so far is 45 percent among the accepted absentee ballots compared to the total registered voter pool, with the following turnout rates for racial categories and party registration:

From yesterday's turnout percentages, white voters have taken back a slight lead in their turnout rate compared to black voter's turnout rate. Also notable and is usually "par-for-the-course" in North Carolina, more registered partisans turn out in comparison to unaffiliated voters.

Next, the gender, region, native vs. non-native, and generation cohorts and their registered voter turnout rates so far:

Not surprising, female voters are enjoying a higher registered voter turnout rate than male voters, while NC natives are slightly ahead compared to non-native voters. Within the regional analysis, both urban and suburban turnout rates are equal, with rural turnout rate lower. And while over half of the Baby Boomers and Silent/Greatest generation voters have cast accepted absentee ballots so far, Millennials and Generation X voters are seeing their turnout rate increase over the last few days of early voting. It will be important to watch these rates and types of voters showing up on Tuesday.

Updated for Mail-In Absentee Ballots:

I've finally run the numbers on the mail-in absentee ballots, which are lagging behind 2012's numbers:

Right now, accepted mail-in ballots are only 81 percent of where they were on this day in 2012.

Registered Republicans are leading among this voting method, with 41 percent of the accepted mail-in ballots so far; registered Democrats are 32 percent, and registered unaffiliated voters are 27 percent.

However, in comparison to their 2012 numbers, registered Republicans are 34,000 ballots behind their same day numbers, or 65 percent of where they were four years ago.

Registered Democrast are 4,300 ballots behind, or only 92 percent of their 2012 same day totals, while registered unaffiliated voters are ahead by 2,800 ballots, or at 107 percent of their same day 2012 numbers.

Of the nearly 58,000 outstanding ballots so far, the party registration breaks down as:

I'll be doing some more analysis later in the day after a quick break, but I did want to express my thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog. It has been overwhelming that over 5,000 page hits per day have occurred over the past two weeks, and I'm appreciative of the interest that folks have generated in this. Thank you, and GO VOTE.