Tuesday, August 01, 2006

 

Early Voting Statistics

Here is a short comparison of early voting totals from this year's early voting period and the 2002 Primary. Keep in mind these are total votes cast - a blend of Republican and Democratic voters. Also remember that some counties did not have early voting in place during the 2002 election season; thus, there is no data set to compare this year's statistics.

County.........2006...........2002

Shelby - . . 78,899 . . . . 59,465
Knox - . . . 23,936 . . . . 22,780
Sullivan - . . 8,310 . . . . 3,321
Hamilton - 16,136 . . . . 9,488
Anderson - 6,779 . . . . . 6,379
Washington - 6,009 . . 4,489
Sevier - . . . 3,308 . . . . 2,204
Blount - . . . 3,861 . . . . 2,490
Madison - . 8,956 . . . . 8,486
Davidson - 20,182 . . . 19,212
Rutherford - 9,447 . . . . 8,148
Greene - . . 3,770 . . . . . 3,754
Hawkins - 4,185 . . . . . . 1,932
Coffee - . . . 3,464 . . . . . 3,542
Maury - . . . 7,154 . . . . . 5,853
Rhea - . . . . 3,464 . . . . . 1,934
Roane - . . . 6,534 . . . . . 5,147
Williamson - 4,089 . . . . 7,762

Total Early Voters in 2002 Primaries - 403,000
Total Early Voters in 2006 Primaries - 447,910
Total Voters in 2002 GOP Primary - 548,482
Total Voters in 2002 Dem. Primary - 508,875

***
Clearly, early voting picked up during the last three days of early voting, which may show a late-breaking electorate. (Basically, people may not be deciding for whom they are voting until the final weeks of the election at a higher rate than normal.)

Regionally, early voting numbers are higher in East Tennessee, although not as high as many pundits expected giving the Congressional race in the 1st District. Middle Tennessee, as a region, was a bit depressed, particularly in Davidson and the "collar counties" of Williamson and Rutherford but also in counties across the plateau. West Tennessee is quite a bit higher than normal.

One would expect for all regions to be higher, of course, because there have been substantial increases in the number of registered voters in each region of Tennessee since 2002. Also, as people get more familiar with the idea of voting on a day other than Election Day, early voting should see a natural number of converts. I note this because even if 2006 numbers for a county are close to the 2006 numbers, it still may mean that numbers for that county did not meet expectations.

One thing is clear from these numbers - the statewide candidate that invested in the "collar counties" of Nashville may have wasted valuable resources that could be been put to better use elsewhere.

The big question now relates to Election Day. Do counties with healthy early voting continue to have the same type of response traditionally observed on Election Day, or have people made the choice to Early Vote, leaving turnout stagnant?

I predicted between 582,000-590,000 Republican primary voters early in the year. I didn't think we would reach that midway through early voting, but I do believe we have a chance if turnout is heavy Thursday. The weather is supposed to be a bit oppressive, with heat indexes over 100 degrees across the street, so we might not reach that level.

Comments:
Umm...where did you get your information? Madison Co. did have early voting in 2002. There were 8486 early voters there in 2002, according to the Secretary of State's website. In the statistical analysis section. Also, your 2002 numbers do not match the numbers that I have from the Secretary of State's page. Where did you get your info?
 
Adam -

Thanks for the correction on Madison County.

The numbers I have come from the Sec. of State's website. However, I am not going by their totals, because I have found errors in their tabulation before. Thus, I have calculated the numbers manually based on the number of votes for Senate in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Why the Senate? Well, that's where my focus is.

Cheers,

Rob
 
Rob, I was looking at the PDF file that I have linked on TNPoliticsBlog.com. I suppose this is the total number of early voters? As opposed to just the ones that voted in the Senate primary in 2002. Are your 2006 numbers just the ones that voted in the Senate race or all early voters?
 
Adam -

I guess I would say that the differences in the nubmers are nominal, at best.

Bottom line is numbers are up in the East, up in the West, and flat-to-down in the Middle.

Cheers,

Rob
 
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