As North Carolina nears the end of the first two weeks of mail-in absentee balloting, the trends that we have seen develop over time have pretty much stabilized and continue on pace.
Again, a word of caution: while registered Democrats have the lead in both requested and returned/accepted ballots, this may not mean that these are reliable, bankable Democratic votes. North Carolina has a legacy of the Southern conservative registered Democratic voter being in registered name only, while casting their votes for Republican candidates.
That being said, here are the overall numbers of ballots broken down in various 'status' categories (the first line that is blank indicates ballots still outstanding):
Of the total number of ballots sent out, 35 percent are from registered Democrats, 35 percent from registered Republicans, 28 percent from registered unaffiliated voters, and less than one percent from registered Libertarians.
Of the ballots returned and accepted as votes, 41 percent are from registered Democrats, 35 percent from registered Republicans, 24 percent from registered unaffiliated voters, and less than one percent from registered Libertarians.
However, both registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters are overperforming their same-day cumulative totals in comparison to 2012's numbers: registered unaffiliated accepted ballots are 167 percent of their same-day totals four years ago, registered Democratic accepted ballots are 153 percent of same-day totals from four years ago, and registered Republican accepted ballots are 93 percent of their same-day totals from 2012.
Finally, in looking at the outstanding mail-in ballots yet to be returned, an even divide exists between registered partisans, with nearly 30 percent from unaffiliated voters.
Tomorrow's numbers will include today's (Friday, Sept. 23) process ballots. As noted in the 2012-2016 comparison data, by this point in the mail-in balloting process, registered Republicans had taken the lead in accepted ballots and held that throughout the remaining. The next trend to watch for is when that occurs this year; there seems to be a continue 'enthusiasm' level among certain blocks of voters to 'bank their ballots', and over the weekend, I'll be trying to decipher how these voters (if they were registered and voted in 2012) cast their ballots.