Tag Archives: absentee voting

To the Numbers: Pre-Election Turnout by Party & County

Today’s stats include both early voters and returned absentee ballots, so we can get an overall sense of who has already voted. There are some substantial changes in county rankings from when I ran these numbers just yesterday.

Specifically, Prince George’s has gone from being towards the bottom of the pack to virtually the same as the state average. St. Mary’s has fallen several places from being 14th to 20th in turnout out of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.

However, Talbot continues to lead the pack with just under 30% of its voters have done their civic duty compared to just 7.3% in placid Allegany. Overall, 15.3% of registered Marylanders have voted as of the end of the seventh day of early voting.

Next up are statistics by party and county:

Democrats have a 3.3% lead (difference from math based on the chart due to rounding) over Republicans in participation in early voting and returning absentees.

Montgomery Dems continue to lead the way for their party with Democrats out voting Republicans by 7.1%. One might attribute this to MCDCC having gotten their organizational act together and the weak organization of local Republicans.

Is there also a Ficker Factor? Ficker is a peripatetic one-man band but not well organized or supported. State Republicans seem unenthusiastic with Larry Hogan avoiding him at a recent rally and Kathy Szeliga failing to include him on a list of key races in her email blast. As Adam Pagnucco noted, Republican primary voters have repeatedly rejected Ficker when given the opportunity.

In Howard, it has gotten more imperative for Allen Kittleman to turn out election day voters as Democrats have out participated Republicans in by 6.3%. In Frederick, Democrats are 5.9% ahead of Republicans, which can’t hurt County Executive Jan Gardner and Sen. Ron Young’s reelection bids. Democrats are also notably ahead by 4.5% in Anne Arundel where Republican County Executive Steve Schuh is facing surprisingly strong competition and Sarah Elfreth hopes to win John Astle’s open seat.

Here is the share of Democrats and Republicans among people who have already voted sorted from most to least Democratic:

Among the state’s 24 jurisdictions, exactly one-half have more Democratic than Republican voters and vice-versa. Notice, however, that all of the state’s really large jurisdictions are in the top portion of the chart and have substantially heavier Dem turnout.

Share

A Pattern in the Absentee Ballots?

By Adam Pagnucco.

All eyes in political MoCo are on the County Executive race, which will be decided by absentee and provisional ballots.  After the first absentee canvass, Marc Elrich’s lead over David Blair has declined from 492 votes to 149 votes, guaranteeing an absolute squeaker of a finish.  Lots of folks are asking why.  A preliminary analysis of absentee voting data suggests one reason: for the most part, candidates endorsed by MCEA, of whom Elrich is one, are performing slightly less well in absentee voting than in early voting and election day voting.

The Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), which represents MCPS teachers, has historically been the most powerful interest group in MoCo elections.  Its political program has combined mail and poll coverage where its mighty Apple Ballot is distributed.  This year, its mail program has been partially diverted to the Governor’s race (where the union helped pay for three mailers on behalf of Ben Jealous) and Congress District 6 (where the union sent three mailers for Aruna Miller).  Its remaining mailers were one for its State Legislative District 16 endorsees (one of whom was teacher Samir Paul), one for its Council At-Large endorsees (one of whom was teacher Chris Wilhelm) and one with the Apple Ballot itself.  The latter mailer was the only one to include Marc Elrich, who was endorsed late.  In past years in which races for Governor and Congress were not an issue, MCEA’s mail program was entirely focused on state legislative and county races.

Alterations to the mail program may explain variations in absentee ballot voting.  People who vote early, on election day and through provisional ballots may encounter Apple Ballot poll coverage.  And it’s not just MCEA who distributes it; candidates who are featured on it often distribute it too.  But absentee voters do not go to a polling place.  They must be contacted through other means.  As stated above, MCEA’s mailers were drawn into races for Congress and Governor and if the union has a robust digital program, we have not seen it.  All of this means that absentee voters in General Assembly and county-level races are less likely to be influenced by the Apple.

The table below shows sixteen close performances in county races between Apple-endorsed and non-Apple candidates.  (We excluded incumbents to remove any incumbent effect on absentee voting.)  In each race, the margin between the two in election and early voting results is shown alongside the margin in the first absentee canvass.  (Both sets of results are unofficial and there will be another absentee canvass.)  In eleven of these sixteen races, Apple-endorsed candidate performance declined in absentee voting.

Now some of these races have other things going on.  In Congress District 6, Aruna Miller benefited from MCEA’s three mailers and her performance actually rose a tiny bit among absentees.  In the gubernatorial race, a clear outlier, Rushern Baker may have benefited from the Washington Post’s strong endorsement.  (This year, the Post did not endorse in Congressional or state legislative races.)  David Blair got not one, but two Post endorsements.  Elrich’s late endorsement from MCEA handicapped his ability to publicize it, which may have impacted absentee voters.  And so on.

The Apple Ballot is arguably the best endorsement in the county.  Blair would already have won the Executive race if Elrich had not received it.  But the data above, however tentative it is, suggests a pattern: the Apple has been slightly less effective in absentee voting.  The median performance drop is 1.4 points.  The mean performance drop excluding the outlier race for Governor is 1.3 points.  So let’s round it in rough terms to a point-and-a-half decline.  That’s not enough to affect most races but it is having an impact on the razor-thin contests for County Executive and House 16.  MCEA should consider this in designing its future political programs.

Share

Early Voting Stats Day 1

Democracy rules! On the first day of early voting, my polling place was packed with people waiting to cast their ballot. Either people can’t wait to be done with this election or they feel strongly about their candidates, or both.

On their Twitter feed, the Maryland State Board of Elections reports that a record 125,914 people voted on the first day of early voting. That compares to just 78,409 people who voted on the first day of early voting four years ago–an increase of 60.6%. Statistics for this year are not yet available by county.

As of today, 68,377 have returned absentee ballots out of a total of 196,450 that have been sent out, so 65.2% of absentee ballots are still outstanding. The total number of people who have already voted in Maryland is 194,291.

How does this compare with 2012? There were 153,100 absentee votes four years ago, so we are currently at 44.7% of 2012’s total with Election Day 12 days away. Maryland looks set to blow way past early voting totals from 2012 as we have already reached 28.8% of the 437,600 early votes cast that year. Right now, the total votes cast as a share of the 2012 total of 3,693,600 is just 5.3%, so the vast majority of votes are still to come.

Share

Absentee Ballots Spike in CD8

A guest blog by Adam Pagnucco.

Jonathan Shurberg kindly passed along a tip that absentee ballots are waaay up in CD8.  He’s right, and that could have an impact on our congressional primary.

The state’s Board of Elections has released absentee ballot statistics by congressional district and party.  CD8 has about one-eighth of the state’s population.  But among Democrats, it has accounted for 27% of absentee ballots sent to voters and 25% of absentee ballots received by the state.

Absentees by CD

The Board of Elections also reports absentee ballots by state legislative district.  Among Democrats, the five legislative districts from which the state received the most absentee ballots are all partially or entirely inside CD8.  Legislative District 16, home to high turnout precincts in Bethesda and Chevy Chase, is the runaway leader.  Legislative District 20, home base to Senator Jamie Raskin, ranked fifth.

Absentees by LD

Below are absentee ballots cast by Democrats in CD8 primaries from 2000 through 2016.  The lead year for absentee voting was 2008, a record-breaking primary across the state which saw a contested election for President.  This year’s primary is set to be at least number two on this measure.  A caveat applies: CD8’s boundaries were significantly changed in 2012, as it lost many high turnout precincts in Potomac and gained many less-Democratic precincts in Frederick and Carroll Counties.  Accounting for that fact, the absentee returns in 2008 and 2016 are in the same ballpark.  Another thing: mailed absentee ballots with postmarks on or before election day will be accepted by the state through May 6, so more ballots will be received.

Absentees CD8 Dems Historic

The competitive presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is definitely responsible for part of this spike.  Competitive presidential elections draw out voters like no other down-ballot offices do.

But we also hear that David Trone’s campaign has been running an aggressive absentee ballot program.  This is part of Trone’s strategy to expand the electorate beyond regular Democratic voters.  By mailing to registered Democrats who do not get mail from other candidates, saturating televisions, laptops, tablets and smartphones with ads and even advertising on Baltimore TV stations, Trone is betting that he can turn out voters who hear primarily or only from him.  That’s his strategy for victory, and the absentee ballot performance may be a sign of it.

If Trone is deadlocked for the lead with another candidate at the end of tonight, don’t be surprised if the absentee ballots give him a win.

Share

Early Vote Bounces Back

EVgraph5

Black = All, Blue = D, Red= R, Purple = Unaffiliated

Good news. After a weekend off, the early vote bounced back to the second highest yet with 40,081–1.1% of all eligible voters–casting early votes on Monday. A total of 157,884, or 4.3% of all eligible voters, have cast ballots so far. Additionally, 22.297, or 0.6% of all eligible voters, have returned absentee ballots.

Good News for Democrats

The increase in early vote numbers is helpful to Democrats. If  40,000 people turn out each of the next three days, the total number of early voters will rise by around 58,000 over 2010. As Democrats comprise a disproportionate share of registered voters, the increase will likely result in an bump up for the raw votes banked by  Democrats. Even though Democrats seem to have lost most of their early vote turnout advantage from 2010, they still have a good shot at increasing the total votes won through early voting.

Absentee Votes

Today’s table includes absentee ballots as well as early votes, so the rankings are not strictly comparable to yesterday’s table. However, the incorporation of absentee votes does not alter the overall picture greatly. The number of absentee voters is smaller than it used to be thanks to early voting.

early5

Party Breakdowns

The number of registered Democrats (97,777) who have voted early far exceeds the number of registered Republican (45,219) or unaffiliated (13,341) who have cast early ballots. The percentage of registered Democrats edged further above that of Republicans but only by an infinitesimal amount as the gap is now 0.04%.

Republicans and unaffiliated are approaching their 2010 early vote totals at a faster rate than Democrats. While the number of early Democratic voters is 69.7% of their 2010 total voters, Republicans have already reached 77.3% with unaffiliated at 72.8%.

So even though Democrats may benefit from the increase number of voters, as explained above, the closure of the gap with Republicans suggests that they will benefit less than they might and certainly less than they hoped. The poor performance in Montgomery remains especially disappointing to Team Blue, although it is performing better with absentee than early voting.

Doing Best in the Base

Both parties seem to be turning out voters at a higher rate in their base counties. Consider that the rate of registered Democratic turnout exceeds that of Republicans by 1.89% in Baltimore City, 1.46% in Prince George’s, 1.26% in Howard, 1.01% in Montgomery, and 0.39% in Charles. On the other hand, registered Republican turnout exceeds that of Democrats by 1.97% in Talbot, 1.10% in Worcester, 1.10% in Wicomico, 0.56% in Queen Anne’s, 0.46% in Garrett, and 0.45% in Harford.

Turnout in Key Legislative Districts

District 3: 1669 D, 1083 R, 397 U (52.7% D)
District 6: 1992 D, 1120 R, 258 U (58.4% D)
District 8: 1920 D, 1250 R, 274 U (54.9% D)
District 9: 2492 D, 2197 R, 615 U (46.3% D)
District 12: 2770 D, 918 R, 381 U (67.1% D)
District 29: 1172 D, 1187 R, 264 U (44.2% D)
District 30: 3042 D, 2270 R, 690 U (50.5% D)
District 34: 2063 D, 1719 R, 470 U (47.8% D)District 38: 1893 D, 1984 R, 388 U (43.6% D)
District 42: 1673 D, 1118 R, 246 U (53.8% D)

Democrats form a majority of early voters in D3 (Young), D6 (Olszewski v. Salling), D8 (Klausmeier), D12 (Kasemeyer), D30 (Astle), and D42 (Brochin).

The numbers are most dangerous for incumbent Democrats in D29 (Dyson) and D38 (Mathias). In these two districts, more registered Republicans have voted than registered Democrats.

In D9 (Frederic v. Bates) and D34 (James v. Cassilly), the numbers are in between–Democrats are a plurality but not a majority. Del. Mary-Dulany James is probably stronger in D34 because of her long history representing this swing territory and appealing to unaffiliated voters. Del. Gail Bates likely has the edge in D9 for similar reasons.

 

Share