More early votes already cast than in 2014 — but Republicans outpace Democrats

Competitive elections in states like Florida and Nevada are inspiring record turnout in early voting

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 1, 2018 12:33PM (EDT)

 (AP/Jim Mone)
(AP/Jim Mone)

Early voting numbers are coming in and reveal that, if nothing else, the 2018 midterm elections seem poised to break records when it comes to voter engagement.

A political science professor named Michael McDonald revealed that early voting numbers in at least 17 states have already surpassed the overall early and absentee voter turnout from the last midterm election cycle in 2014, according to The Washington Post. These included the states of Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

In some of these states, the total number of early and absentee votes has reached a point where they could conceivably double their results from four years ago. In other states, early voting is so high that they alone may surpass the total vote counts (including early voting, absentee voting and Election Day voting) from the 2014 midterm cycle.

The two standout states, according to the Post, are Florida and Nevada.

In Florida, there is a competitive gubernatorial race between Democratic candidate Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Republican candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis, as well as a competitive Senate election between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican candidate Gov. Rick Scott. In Nevada, there is a competitive Senate election between Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic challenger Rep. Jacky Rosen:

In Nevada, a total of about 308,000 voters cast early, absentee or mail-in ballots in 2014, according to state data. As of early Wednesday, with three more days of in-person early voting to go, the figure for this year was at 463,016.

The numbers showed a marginal advantage for Democratic voters, who have cast roughly 192,000 votes compared with 180,000 Republicans and 90,000 with no party affiliation.

An NBC News analysis similarly found early votes in seven states already outpace totals from 2014. According to NBC News, more Republicans than Democrats have already cast early ballots in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas:

As of Wednesday, 43 percent of early voters are Republican and 41 percent are Democrats. At this point in 2016, 43 percent of early voters were Democrats and 40 percent were Republicans.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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