By Michael Bitzer
The nation, and North Carolina, have finally arrived at this point: just two days before the final votes are cast in Election 2020, and then the counting begins on what is shaping up as a historic election, by pretty much any standard.
The level of early voting--with estimates of over 90 million ballots cast nation-wide before Tuesday, November 3--is certainly one for the record books, and especially in North Carolina's period of early voting, made up of both absentee by mail and absentee onestop, which most refer to as 'early voting in-person.'
According to the U.S. Election Project, as of Sunday, Nov. 1., two-thirds of all the votes cast in 2016 have been already submitted in the 2020 election.
In North Carolina, 2020's early ballots are 95 percent of all the votes cast in 2016, which equates to nearly 62 percent of the 7.3 million registered voters having already voted as we head into Tuesday's general election. It would only take another 238,000 voters to match 2016's total ballots cast; that 238,000 would be just 3 percent of the current 7.3 million, equating to 65 percent voter turnout.
If past presidential election years are any indication, we should see registered voter turnout at least 69 percent:
In a realistic scenario, North Carolina could be looking at a low to mid-70 percent turnout rate when the polls close Tuesday night; meaning, anywhere from a potential 725,000 to 943,000 voters could show up on November 3, and that would give the state either a 72 or 75 percent registered voter turnout rate this year.
So, here are a number of data points about what we know about NC's early votes, who has cast ballots so far, and what we should expect come Tuesday's final voting. Be prepared for a deep data dive into the numbers.
How many North Carolinians have early voted?