by Jim Stirling
Research Fellow, John Locke Foundation
With only 22 days left until election day, efforts to get voters to the polls have ramped up. In-person early voting begins this week, on October 20th, making this the last time we will only have mail-in ballots available to speculate on the election results. So let us look at what has changed since last week’s analysis.
Mail-in ballots are following the traditional patterns we have seen in most general elections, with a steady rise in ballots being returned as we get further into the election. We saw a nearly 50% increase in votes cast since last week.
This year is shaping up to be the middle ground for mail-in ballots between the blue moon election of 2018 and 2020’s pandemic election. Dr. Andy Jackson, with the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, has put together a “Mail Ballot Guesstimator” showing the potential outcome of this year’s mail ballots should current trends continue.
Ballots by Party:
Democrats maintain their lead in absentee ballots, making up over 50% of all accepted ballots. Democrats are also the most likely party registration to request an absentee ballot but, surprisingly, maintain the same rate of return as Republicans at 21% and only slightly higher than unaffiliateds at 18%.
Voter Registration Changes:
All registered parties saw higher voter registration rates this week, with unaffiliated voters continuing their registration advantage.
Republicans have been holding steady in second place as concerns over the U.S. economy continue to grow.