United States Elections Project
   
 

2008 Early Voting Statistics

Last updated: Nov. 4, 2008

Tens of 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 initial 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

(Some statistics provided courtesy of the Associated Press Elections Unit)
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
31,733,635
25.7% 123,535,883 22.5%
Alabama
1,890,317 3.5%
Alaska
314,502 21.4%
Arizona
566,656
27.8%
2,038,069 40.8%
10/31
Scottsdale City
52,816
48.2%
109,469  
10/31
Arkansas
406,139
Ballot
Absentee
7.6%
In-Person
93.2%
37.9%
1,070,573 33.4%
11/4
California
(58 of 58 counties reporting, thnx to Joe Holland)
4,021,791 31.9% 12,589,367 33.2%
10/28-11/4
Colorado 1,704,280
Party
Dem
37.7%
Rep
35.9%
No/Oth
26.4%
Ballot
Absentee
78.6%
In-person
21.4%
79.3% 2,148,036 47.9%
11/3
(Party
stats
current through 10/30)
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
4,377,774
2008 2004
Party
Dem 45.6% 40.7%
Rep 37.3% 43.5%
No/Oth 17.1% 15.8%
Ballot
Absentee 39.7%
In-person 60.3%
57.3%
7,640,319 36.1%
11/4
Georgia
2,020,839
Race
White
60.4%
Black
34.9%
Other/Unk
4.7%
Sex
Men
40.4%
Women
56.2%
Unk
3.4%
Ballot
Absentee
12.0%
In-person
88.0%
60.9% 3,317,336 20.2%
11/3
Hawaii
120,596
27.9%
431,662 31.0%
10/29
Idaho
126,350
20.6%
612,786 15.9%
10/28
Illinois
5,350,493 5.6%
10/31
Champaign Cnty
7,685
 
9.1%
84,153 4.9%
10/30
Cook Cnty
226,090
 
22.1%
1,024,876  
10/31
Chicago City
260,703
 
24.7%
1,056,830  
10/30
Indiana
668,868
26.6%
2,512,142 10.4%
11/4
Marion Cnty
92,757
31.3%
296,243 8.0%
11/3
Iowa
481,179
Party
Dem
46.9%
Rep
28.9%
No/Oth
24.2%
31.6%
1,521,966 30.8%
11/1
Kansas
435,579
35.1%
1,213,108 20.4%
11/4
Johnson Cnty
137,323
52.9%
259,599 37.8%
11/3
Kentucky
105,259
5.8%
1,816,867 5.4%
10/31
Louisiana
283,515
Party
Dem
58.0%
Rep
28.7%
No/Oth
13.3%
Race
White
61.4%
Black
35.6%
Other
3.0%
Sex
Men
43.4%
Women
56.6%
Ballot
Absentee
10.3%
In-Person
89.7%
14.5%
1,956,590 6.5%
10/29
(In-person early voting period ended 10/28)
Maine
226,012
Party
Dem
41.1%
Rep
27.7%
No/Oth
31.2%
30.1%
751,519 21.4%
11/4
Maryland
226,894
9.5%
2,395,791 5.8%
10/30
Massachusetts
2,927,455 6.0%
Michigan
1,029,149
21.1%
4,875,692 17.9%
10/31
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
155,004
Party
Dem
38.9%
Rep
47.3%
No/Oth
13.8%
19.5%
792,906 13.9%
11/3
Nevada#
561,776
67.6%
831,563 53.1% 10/31
(Early voting period ended 10/31)
Clark Cnty
391,936
Party
Dem
52.0%
Rep
30.6%
No/Oth
17.4%
71.7%
546,858 59.4%
10/31
Washoe Cnty
101,604
Party
Dem
47.1%
Rep
35.3%
No/Oth
17.5%
63.7%
159,511 33.0%
10/31
New Hampshire
683,672 9.0%
New Jersey
267,266
7.3%
3,638,153 5.4%
10/30
New Mexico
775,301 50.6%
Bernalillo Cnty
192,229
Party
Dem
52.7%
Rep
32.8%
No/Oth
14.5%
Ballot
Absentee
34.1%
In-person
65.9%
73.2%
262,617  
11/1
New York
7,448,266 5.1%
North Carolina 2,623,838
2008 2004
Party
Dem
51.4% 48.6%
Rep
30.2% 37.4%
None
18.5% 14.1%
Age
18-29
14.9%
30-44
23.5%
45-64
40.2%
65+
21.4%
Race
White
69.2%
Black
26.5%
Other
4.3%
Sex
Men
42.8% 42.9%
Women
56.3% 56.6%
Unk
0.1% 0.4%
Ballot
Absentee
8.6% 13.1%
One-Stop
91.4% 86.9%
73.9% 3,552,449 30.8%
11/4 5:26am
North Dakota
104,165
33.0%
316,049 17.8%
11/3
Ohio*
1,456,364
25.5%
5,722,443 10.7%
10/24
Champaign Cnty
3,666
 
19.2%
19,080 8.4% 10/31
Cuyahoga Cnty
252,629
Ballot
Absentee
81.8%
In-person
18.2%
36.8%
687,255 12.4%
11/1
Franklin Cnty
207,243
 
38.8%
533,575 8.8%
11/1
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
73,920
 
26.2%
281,735 10.1% 10/31
Tuscarawas Cnty
9,339
 
21.3%
43,760 11.1% 10/31
Union Cnty
html
3,324
 
14.5%
22,911 7.7% 10/28
Oklahoma
1,463,758
10.1%
Oregon 1,198,964
64.8%
1,851,671 100.0%
11/2
Pennsylvania
235,258
4.1%
5,769,590
5.5%
11/3
Rhode Island
440,228 4.4%
South Carolina
1,626,720 9.5%
South Dakota
394,930 24.0%
Tennessee 1,550,939
63.1% 2,456,610 47.3%
10/30
(Early voting ended 10/30)
Texas
(15 largest counties)
3,556,156
Ballot
Absentee
5.9%
In-person
94.1%
48.0%
7,410,765
51.1%
10/31
Utah
337,577
35.8%
942,010 7.2%
11/3
Vermont
314,220 19.1%
Virginia
465,962  
14.5%
3,223,156
7.0%
11/3
Fairfax Cnty
78,425  
17.0%
426,126 10.5%
10/30
Washington
1,338,159
46.4%
2,883,499 68.2%
10/31
Clark Cnty
106,053
 
61.6%
172,277 62.8%
10/31
King Cnty
316,995
 
35.3%
899,199 62.8%
10/31
Pierce Cnty
125,330
 
39.5%
317,012 80.3%
10/31
Snohomish Cnty
126,709
 
42.6%
297,187 65.3%
10/30
Spokane Cnty
132,172
 
64.8%
203,886 64.3%
10/31
Whatcom Cnty
60,165
 
65.7%
91,515 72.8%
10/31
West Virginia
166,353
Party
Dem
53.0%
Rep
29.1%
No/Oth
9.1%
Ballot
Absentee
8.2%
In-Person
91.8%
21.6%
769,645 19.1%
11/3
Wisconsin
3,016,288 12.1%
Wyoming
43,635
17.8%
245,789 19.6%
10/29

^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.