United States Elections Project
   
 

2008 Early Voting Statistics

Last updated: Oct. 30, 2008

[For those checking this website frequently, you may need to refresh your browser.]

They're coming around the turn, about to enter the home stretch...

Millions of people have already cast their ballot for the 2008 presidential election. By early vote, I mean any vote cast prior to Election Day, be it by absentee ballot or in-person at a central election administration office or special satellite polling location. A list of state laws regarding early voting can be found at the Early Vote Center. I'm posting links and some statistics to early voting here. It is difficult to keep up with these statistics, and I will do my best to keep them current. For those itching to get the latest statistics, I have posted links to the early vote statistics and I've created an Excel spreadsheet to aid data entry.

Where available, I provide additional statistics such as early voters by party, race, gender and age. You can compare these demographic characteristics of the 2008 early vote electorate to the 2004 electorate with this profile of the 2004 electorate drawn from the 2004 Current Population Survey. The Current Population Survey does not ask party identification. Something to consider as one digests these early vote statistics is that the media consortium's 2004 exit poll conducted supplemental phone surveys of early voters in selected states with high proportions of early voters. These surveys found that early voters were more Republican than in-person Election Day voters in all states except Iowa.

I estimate the magnitude of the early vote by dividing the 2008 early vote total by the total number of ballots cast in the 2004 general election. You can compare this to the state-level percentage of early votes cast in the 2004 election compiled by the Associated Press. For some localities where I have county reports only, I provide 2004 statistics drawn from official election websites. Keep in mind that in previous elections, the number of early votes typically ramps up as the early vote deadline approaches. Early voting appears to be on track to exceed the 2004 levels. Indeed, the number of early votes cast in Georgia and North Carolina have already surpassed their 2004 numbers. The question remains if this means a greater share of the 2008 vote will be cast early, if turnout will be up overall, or - as I suspect - a combination of these two factors are in play.

I've written up my intitial thoughts in this (already dated) Brookings Insitution op-ed.

Read more coverage of this website on CNN, Politico, Bloomberg, PBS, LA Times...

A CNN website is now providing early voting statistics, too. What are the differences? They seem to have greater coverage at the state level while I have individual county level data. Their data is a little more out of date. Still, if you're coming here, you'll want to check it out.

To clear up some questions that I have had about these statistics:

  • The breakdowns of early voters are by party registration, not vote for president. I want to stress this again, particularly for the foreign readers who are not familar with partisan registration: we do not know who these people voted for; election results for early voters are (mostly) tabulated on election day. However, there are some pretty strong clues as to who these people voted for in the party registration statistics that favor Democrats in most states and polls that are now reporting Obama is performing strong among early voters, such as this Associated Press poll (there are many polls, if you want to see them all, visit a website like Pollster.com). A further point about these polls is that they are normal public opinion polls, they are not exit polls. We simply have a large enough sample of early voters in some states in these pre-election polls to begin to get reliable estimates of who these early voters support.
  • I count only mail-in absentee ballots returned to an election office. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission reported in 2004 that about 90% of all requested ballots were returned.
  • I do not provide the total number of registered voters, mainly due to deadwood and purging issues. I discuss some of the difficulties of voter registration as a metric of turnout here and my research - what I am best known for in the academic community - is the construction of turnout rates for those eligible to vote.
  • I am past the point where I can respond to most e-mails. I appreciate people who point out new data sources. For those who want something more, this is pretty much what you're going to get. I have a day job as a professor and I am only one person. I'm having difficulty just keeping up with the statistics I can provide.
  • To the many who express thanks for what I do, I appreciate your sentiments even if I do not have time to personally answer your e-mail.

Excel Turnout SpreadhseetEarly Vote 2008.xls

Early Voting Statistics

State Mainpage
Early Voting Stats
2008 Total Early Vote
Selected
Stats
2008 Early Vote / 2004 Total Vote
2004 Total Votes Cast
2004
% Early
(Ass.Press)
Last Updated
United States
20,440,780
16.5% 123,535,883 22.5%
Alabama
1,890,317 3.5%
Alaska
314,502 21.4%
Arizona
2,038,069 40.8%
Scottsdale City
31,562
28.8%
109,469  
10/24
Arkansas
304,763
Ballot
Absentee
8.0%
In-Person
92.0%
28.5%
1,070,573 33.4%
10/30
California
(58 of 58 counties reporting, thnx to Joe Holland)
3,068,411 24.4% 12,589,367 33.2%
10/24-10/30
Colorado 1,291,571
Party
Dem
38.6%
Rep
36.7%
No/Oth
24.6%
Ballot
Absentee
76.9%
In-person
23.1%
60.1% 2,148,036 47.9%
10/30
(Party stats last updated 10/27)
Connecticut
1,607,808 8.9%
Delaware
377,407 4.9%
District of Columbia
230,105 8.1%
Florida^
(in-person & absentee returned)
html Election Code 9250
3,360,088
Party
Dem
45.6%
Rep
38.2%
No/Oth
16.2%
Ballot
Absentee
41.5%
In-person
58.5%
44.0%
7,640,319 36.1%
10/31
(in-person)
10/31
(abs.)
Georgia 1,572,293
Race
White
60.6%
Black
35.1%
Other/Unk
2.3%
Sex
Men
40.5%
Women
56.3%
Unk
1.1%
Ballot
Absentee
12.3%
In-person
87.7%
47.4% 3,317,336 20.2%
10/30
Hawaii
431,662 31.0%
Idaho
612,786 15.9%
Illinois
5,350,493 5.6%
Champaign Cnty
7,685
 
9.1%
84,153 4.9%
10/30
Cook Cnty
(xcld Chicago)
199,081
 
19.4%
1,024,876  
10/30
Indiana
409,659
16.3%
2,512,142 10.4%
10/30
Marion Cnty
51,094
In-person only
15.1%
296,243 8.0%
10/30
Iowa
400,829
Party
Dem
48.3%
Rep
28.6%
No/Oth
23.1%
26.3%
1,521,966 30.8%
10/29
Kansas
1,213,108 20.4%
Johnson Cnty
95,930
37.0%
259,599 37.8%
10/29
Kentucky
1,816,867 5.4%
Louisiana
266,880
Party
Dem
58.5%
Rep
28.4%
No/Oth
13.1%
Race
White
60.8%
Black
36.3%
Other
2.9%
Sex
Men
43.5%
Women
56.5%
Ballot
Absentee
5.1%
In-Person
94.9%
13.6%
1,956,590 6.5%
10/29
(In-person early voting period ended 10/28)
Maine
125,910
Party
Dem
44.0%
Rep
28.5%
No/Oth
27.5%
16.8%
751,519 21.4%
10/29
Maryland
2,395,791 5.8%
Massachusetts
2,927,455 6.0%
Michigan
4,875,692 17.9%
Minnesota
2,842,912 8.2%
Mississippi
1,152,365
6.1%
Missouri
2,764,635 7.6%
Montana
184,632
40.5%
456,096 21.7%
10/29
Nebraska
792,906 13.9%
Nevada#
481,552
57.9%
831,563 53.1% 10/29
Clark Cnty
347,491
Party
Dem
52.5%
Rep
30.4%
No/Oth
17.2%
63.5%
546,858 59.4%
10/30
Washoe Cnty
68,258
Party
Dem
48.9%
Rep
34.3%
No/Oth
16.8%
49.2%
159,511 33.0%
10/29
New Hampshire
683,672 9.0%
New Jersey
3,638,153 5.4%
New Mexico
775,301 50.6%
Bernalillo Cnty
145,027
Party
Dem
53.9%
Rep
32.8%
No/Oth
13.3%
Ballot
Absentee
39.6%
In-person
60.4%
55.2%
262,617  
10/29
New York
7,448,266 5.1%
North Carolina 2,078,050
2008 2004
Party
Dem 52.6% 48.6%
Rep 29.6% 37.4%
None 17.8% 14.1%
Age
18-29 13.2%
30-44 21.9%
45-64 41.2%
65+ 23.8%
Race
White 69.3%
Black 26.6%
Other 4.0%
Sex
Men 42.7% 42.9%
Women 56.5% 56.6%
Unk 0.2% 0.4%
Ballot
Absentee 8.2% 13.1%
One-Stop 91.8% 86.9%
58.5% 3,552,449 30.8%
10/31 5:25am
North Dakota
316,049 17.8%
Ohio*
5,722,443 10.7%
Champaign Cnty
3,004
 
15.7%
19,080 8.4% 10/28
Cuyahoga Cnty
217,857
Ballot
Absentee
82.1%
In-person
17.9%
31.7%
687,255 12.4%
10/30
Franklin Cnty
162,944
 
30.5%
533,575 8.8%
10/30
Gallia Cnty
2,168
 
15.1%
14,391 11.1% 10/28
Greene Cnty
5,736
 
7.1%
80,602 10.5% 10/28
Knox Cnty
7,336
 
26.9%
27,302 13.2% 10/30
Montgomery Cnty
50,577
 
17.6%
287,635 10.2% 10/30
Muskingum Cnty
6,629
 
16.8%
39,565 12.6% 10/28
Ross Cnty
html
8,086
25.3%
31,979 12.3% 10/30
Seneca Cnty
4,156
 
15.1%
27,607 10.8% 10/30
Summit Cnty
54,534
 
19.4%
281,735 10.1% 10/28
Tuscarawas Cnty
6,463
 
14.8%
43,760 11.1% 10/28
Union Cnty
html
3,324
 
14.5%
22,911 7.7% 10/28
Oklahoma
1,463,758
10.1%
Oregon 809,378
43.7%
1,851,671 100.0%
10/29
Pennsylvania
5,769,590
5.5%
Rhode Island
440,228 4.4%
South Carolina
1,626,720 9.5%
South Dakota
394,930 24.0%
Tennessee 1,385,453
56.4% 2,456,610 47.3%
10/29
Texas
(15 largest counties)
2,736,159
Ballot
Absentee
6.8%
In-person
93.2%
36.9%
7,410,765
51.1%
10/29
Utah
942,010 7.2%
Vermont
314,220 19.1%
Virginia
    3,223,156
7.0%
Fairfax Cnty
78,425  
17.0%
426,126 10.5%
10/30
Washington
2,883,499 68.2%
Clark Cnty
95,741
 
55.6%
172,277 62.8%
10/30
King Cnty
282,453
 
31.4%
899,199 62.8%
10/30
Pierce Cnty
108,613
 
34.3%
317,012 80.3%
10/30
Snohomish Cnty
126,709
 
42.6%
297,187 65.3%
10/30
Spokane Cnty
120,539
 
52.9%
203,886 64.3%
10/30
Whatcom Cnty
54,227
 
59.3%
91,515 72.8%
10/30
West Virginia
96,239
Party
Dem
59.4%
Rep
31.5%
No/Oth
9.2%
Ballot
Absentee
9.5%
In-Person
90.5%
12.5%
769,645 19.1%
10/29
Wisconsin
3,016,288 12.1%
Wyoming
245,789 19.6%

^Note that as of 10/23 I am adding absentee ballots returned to the Florida number provided to me by a Florida Political Action Committee. Citizens like myself can access the early voting reports, but not the absentee ballot reports. Previous reports were for in-person early voting only. The numbers here are for individual reports made by Florida counties to the state Elections Division. I have been told under Florida law the counties must provide the counts for the previous day by noon of the current day. I will try to keep these numbers current, but this will be difficult since the reporting is varied and these reports must be individually downloaded.
#Clark County and Washoe County may report more current early voting numbers on their county website than the state website. I report the most current numbers separately and add in these numbers to the state total.
*Ohio provides a field for "party" on their absentee reports. Understand that this is not party registration, per ce, rather it is an indicator if a person voted in a party primary and took a party loyalty oath. For this reason, I am not reporting party statistics for Ohio.