Take a look at this graphic of the number of early voters who have taken advantage of EV in Ohio so far (7 days into it) in its five largest counties: 28,466. Not very impressive. What’s even less than impressive is the number of people who took advantage of Ohio’s controversial same day/vote at the same time rule (the last day to be able to do that before the election was yesterday). Total number? 5,223.
There was an expectation that with all the excitement over the election that we’d see record turnout in early voting in key states like Ohio. It’s still early on in the game, to be sure, but I’d say from those numbers they’re not off to a good start. Time will tell.
This is all food for thought, but should at the same time be taken with a grain of salt. Jim Geraghty sums up:
Now, we shouldn’t read too much into this. It’s still possible that the Obama campaign is assembling the biggest, most advanced, and most awe-inspiring get-out-the-vote operation in American political history. But it would seem that if the Obama camp wanted to get a lot of voters out during this early voting period — and why wouldn’t they? Even if you wanted long lines throughout Election Day to justify keeping the polls open longer than scheduled, every voter who votes now is a vote you don’t have to worry about on November 4 — then in the first major test, their get-out-the-vote system… fell well short of expectations? Underperformed? Was AWOL? Wasn’t really utilized?
Keep in mind, at less than one half of one percent turnout across the state, the McCain camp appears to have dramatically underperformed, too. But that’s what makes this so weird. It’s the most covered, most hyped, most passionate election anybody can remember, in the most key of swing states… and neither side can move significant numbers of voters to early voting?
Something else to keep in mind: What about absentee ballots? Who do they generally favor in OH? Also, Ohio’s seen a 9% increase in voter registration this year and the Sec. of State anticipates an 80% turnout on election day. So it could be that what’s happening is that most voters there want to be a part of the action on election day. Sounds weird, but I know that’s the way I personally prefer to vote. Deroy Murdock argues that that’s the way it should be.
Stay tuned …