North Carolina early voting data indicates that they have cast 1.9 million votes to date. This constitutes 25% of the state’s registered voters and includes mail-in and in-person ballots. 45% of the votes were by democrats, 26% republicans and 28% independents.
Early in-person voting began on October 15, and since then 1.2 million ballots have been cast at polling sites across the state. So far, more democrats (43%) have showed up to vote than republicans (30%). 27% of the ballots were from non-affiliated voters, and are expected to be the swing vote.
Almost 1.4 million mail ballots have been requested, of this 46% have been returned and accepted. Mail ballots requested to date are six times more than the total requested in 2016. Democrats have requested more than twice the mail ballots then republicans. Further, the ballot return rate for democrats (49%) has been higher than republicans (44%). Voting data by age indicates that the 66-plus age group are the most reliable voters with a mail ballot return rate of 55%.
All this data indicates that record number of people are voting early in North Carolina. It must be cautioned that party affiliation does not necessarily guarantee support. The trends coming out are what polls have predicted, significant differences were expected between percentage of Biden and Trump supporters voting early. Biden supporters are more likely to cast an early vote. The onslaught of COVID-19 could be motivating them to vote early. On the other hand, Trump’s rhetoric down-playing the pandemic and voter mail-in fraud may be the reason republicans don’t feel the need to vote early. In 2016 Hillary was winning during early voting, but Trump won overwhelmingly with election day voters and carried North Carolina.
We cannot afford to get complacent with early voting data, but instead use it to motivate and elicit enthusiasm to go vote. A blue wave is only possible if we keep up the momentum and keep voting in droves.