Early voting stats show Dems with turnout edge
Posted November 2, 2016
Updated June 12
Most Americans – 71 percent, according to a recent poll – wish the 2016 election was over and done with. While everyone will have to endure a week or so more of breathless media reports and television ads, millions of Americans have already completed their part in the democratic process. According to the United States Election Project, more than 30 million people have already voted in 2016.
An InsideGov visualization shows, voters in Florida, California and Texas – the three most populous states in the U.S. – have taken the most advantage of early voting. Just shy of 4.5 million people in Florida have either mailed in their ballots or voted in-person, as of Nov. 2. In California and Texas, a little over 3.3 million people in each state have voted already.
With a little less than a week to go before Election Day, early voting this year looks likely to surpass 2012 figures. In 2012, a little over 32.3 million people in total cast their ballots early. As is the case this year, California, Texas and Florida led the pack in early voting four years ago.
California and Texas are reliably blue and red, respectively, but Florida's status as a swing state always heightens the importance of its early returns. In 2016, Florida remains a nail-biter, with a fairly even turnout between Republicans and Democrats so far.
But in North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa – all considered swing states this cycle – Dems have taken more advantage of the early voting opportunity.
The visualization reveals the breakdown of the party registration in ballots cast, and not actual votes. As a result, Democrats' lead in early voting doesn't mean that Democratic candidates are necessarily winning. Votes are counted starting on Election Day, so totals for the presidential race, between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, will not be tallied until then. Dr. Michael McDonald, an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida, maintains the United States Election Project, and updates the data daily.
Clinton has invested heavily in the state-level ground game across the country this year. As of early October, her campaign had more than double the number of field offices that Trump had set up.
Despite Clinton's overall organizational upper hand, Democrats in Florida are concerned about a decrease in early turnout among African-Americans, who overwhelmingly support that party in the Sunshine State. According to Politico, Democrats there have been asking the Clinton campaign for more resources.
"They're not doing enough in the black community. I have been screaming for months about this and nothing changed and now look what's happening," said Rep. Alcee Hastings. The Democrat, who represents a largely black district in South Florida, also said he told a top Clinton aide last week that "you need to plus-up the spending in the African-American community and get out the vote."