04 November 2008

Early Voting 2008: A Look at the Numbers

Besides reporting that a record 153,789 West Virginians cast early votes before Tuesday, the secretary of state's office released detailed (preliminary) figures that include voter party affiliation for 50 of the state's 55 counties.

The figures show that the percentage of both Republicans and Democrats who cast early ballots were in excess of their share of overall registered voters:

Republicans Democrats
Registered: 29.2% 55.7%
Early: 31.6% 58.5%
Difference: +2.4% +2.8%

During the 2004 election, The Associated Press received early voting figures by party affiliation for 15 counties:

2004 General Republicans Democrats
Registered: 29.8% 58.2%
Early: 41.1% 52.0%
Difference: +11.3% -6.2%

Update: As for the 2008 breakdown by congressional district:

Republican early vs. registered Democrat early vs. registered
1st District 34.6% +2.1% 55.4% +3.5%
2nd District 33.9% +1.8% 55.4% +4.3%
3rd District 24.4% +1.7% 67.7% +2.2%

A caveat: of the five counties without party breakdowns, one is in the 1st and the rest are split between the 2nd and 3rd. The 2nd is missing Calhoun as well as Berkeley, which ranks second statewide for both registered and early voters this year. Democrats, likely spearheaded by the Obama campaign, also registered more voters than Republicans in Berkeley County for the first time since the 2004 general election.

Update II: Some other tidbits:
  • In terms of raw numbers, 37,430 more Democrats than Republicans cast early votes statewide.
  • Republican early voters outnumbered Democrats in all eight counties in which they have a larger share of the registration rolls: Doddridge, Grant, Mineral, Morgan, Preston, Ritchie, Tyler and Upshur.
  • In 21 counties, the percentage of Republicans voting early was below their portion of registered voters. Democrats were underrepresented by early voters in five counties.
  • The counties without early voting breakdowns by party: Berkeley, Calhoun, Lincoln, McDowell and Taylor.

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