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More on the early voting turnout so far

The Chron writes about the early voting turnout so far.

After four days, nearly 10,000 more Houstonians voted early than in the general election, a trend Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman said she predicted.

“Voters just weren’t engaged back in November,” she said. “Now that the race has narrowed to two candidates, there’s much more interest.”

After four days of early voting in October, only 3,773 ballots had been mailed to Kaufman’s office, compared to 8,193 this week.

Voters showing up at polling places in October totaled 14,805, compared to 23,199 this time.

I’ll say again, I remain unconvinced that the larger early vote turnout so far indicates a greater turnout overall, as Kaufman and Prof. Murray suggest. I think the trend is towards more early voting than we’ve seen in previous elections. That was the case for the November election, in which 31% of votes were cast early, compared to 25% early voting in the three previous elections. Yet the early vote percentage in the 2003 runoff was 36%, a considerable increase over the November proportion. Because I believe what we’re seeing is more a shift in behavior than anything else, I’m skeptical of the more optimistic turnout projections. Obviously, I could be wrong – as Keir Murray noted in the comments of my previous post, the number of runoff voters who did not participate in November is inching up, and is now 13% of the total. Maybe that will compensate, I don’t know. For now, I’m still taking the under.

One more thing:

Kyle Johnson of Johnson Campaigns has found that early voters in the runoff are: 28 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian and 61 percent white or other. Women outnumber men 55 percent to 45 percent; older voters, 65 and up, accounted for 57 percent of early voters to date.

That would be Kyle Johnston, not Johnson. Murray made the same typo in his blog post. I’ve seen his figures as well, and the reason why so many voters so far are over 65 is because 96% of the absentee ballots have come from folks in that age group. Their share of in-person early votes is still the biggest, but it’s only 44% of that. I suspect that will decline more as we go along, but will probably still be the plurality.

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