Saturday, October 29, 2022

Early and Absentee Voting Trends for Hamilton County Slightly Up on 2018 Rates, SO FAR...

Through Friday October 28, 2022 Hamilton County data, Early and Absentee Voting totals combined are up in comparison to 2018.  The increase, however, is small at .69% (less than 1%).  Early in person voting continues to be much higher 66.24% up, but mail in (drop off) absentee numbers are -11.8% down.

By political party all in person early voting rates are up, but surprisingly the rate increase for Republicans is by far the highest.  By Total number count, Republicans are still the lowest group of in person early voting.

With numbers fairly close to being flat to 2018, that is a concern for what total turnout will be in 2022.  The reason for that concern is that the portion of the early/absentee voters of ALL voters likely will NOT be the same to 2018.  After COVID the portion of people voting by mail increased.  That number is down.  In person early voting is way up.  That increase may be affected by COVID on a small level, but more likely the increase relates to the convenience factor or those who have a 2020 holdover fear of making sure their votes counts. I don't think the making sure you vote count factor is a big deal, by any stretch.  I don't think it ever was.  I believe the reason early in person voting is up is because those with cars find it easy to vote early.  Those without cars and who use the bus lines and are dedicated to voting can make it happen.  The question is are those voting early those who wouldn't have voted otherwise? 

The only hard data I have to answer that question is: 16.2% of the votes cast thus far are by people who didn't vote in 2018, at least not here.  Only 5.5% of votes cast thus far are from people who did not vote in 2020.  Can we draw any conclusions from that?  I think the main take away so far is that the new registrations and new voters have not yet turned out in comparable numbers to the regular and highly consistent voters. A second take away is that overall Democratic party turnout is up, Republican and Non-Party turnout is down on the Early/Abs voting overall.  There are two reasons I can see making this true: 1) More Republicans being against mail voting or 2) Are deaths of older people reduced demographically the number of Republican voters who voted in 2018 via absentee mail?

Today (Saturday 10/29/2022) is the first day of weekend in person voting and will be one of days that is key for early turnout.  The expectation is that the volume would greatly exceed both the average daily number of in person voters, 1,029 and the correspond 1,708 voters on the first day of early voting in 2018. I think for turnout to be higher this year, we need to see a big day of something approaching 3,000 in person early voters.  We would then need more next weekend, which has Saturday voting and Sunday Afternoon voting during the final weekend before the election.

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