Mike Dawson of OhioElectionResults.com was curious about the extent to which the state’s early-voting rules affected turnout in its elections. That’s one of the goals of early voting, of course — to increase the amount of time people have to cast a ballot and, therefore, make it easier for those with tricky schedules to do so. Dawson analyzed presidential voting in each cycle since 2000, a period that overlapped with Ohio’s introduction of early voting before the 2008 election. His conclusion? “While early in-person voting and no-excuse absentee voting in Ohio has reduced waiting times on Election Day, it has had no measurable impact on increasing voter turnout,” he wrote. For those who spend much time looking at early voting, that’s not a big surprise.
After the 2014 midterms, the Census Bureau released a report looking at congressional election turnout since 1978. Included in that report was analysis of the percentage of the vote each year that was cast before Election Day, either by absentee ballot or at early-polling stations. We can include data from Michael McDonald’s U.S. Elections Project for 2016 to demonstrate the steady upward tick of early voting as a percentage of votes cast.
But as that increase has happened, turnout hasn’t changed much. (Here again we use McDonald’s numbers.) The number of votes cast has generally increased, of course, which is mostly a function of the increasing national population. The percentage of those who can vote and do, though, doesn’t seem to be affected by early voting — at least nationally.
Full Article: America keeps voting earlier — and it keeps not affecting turnout that much – The Washington Post.