I was away all last week enjoying vacation time with family, but as a result, I’ve had limited opportunity to do any detailed analyses of today’s six special elections in Georgia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. So, my plan is to look at things with a more limited scope where I can and post those results here and on Twitter throughout the day.
I’ve looked this morning at the Early/Absentee voting files for DeKalb County, in an effort to determine if there is any change to that electorate for today’s runoff as compared with July’s special election. If you recall, the special election featured four candidates, 3 Republicans and a Democrat, while today’s contest has the Democrat, Taylor Bennett, squaring off against the Republican who finished second, J. Max Davis.
Unfortunately, there were only 287 approved early/absentee votes recorded through Friday, which figures to be less than 10 percent of the final number cast. Obviously, this is a very small amount of data to work with. So for any findings to be meaningful, they’ll have to be dramatic. Spoiler alert: they’re not.
Here’s what I determined:
- Of the 287 folks in DeKalb County who cast votes so far in the HD 80 runoff, 225 voted in July’s special election. That actually is a little low. When I examined data from 2014 on this topic, I found that, on average, between 55 and 65 percent of Georgia special election runoff voters had voted in the corresponding special election. I’m not sure there is any significance to the HD 80 numbers being somewhat higher than normal, given the small sample size.
- Of those same 287 folks, 77 participated in last year’s Democratic primary, while 91 voted in the 2014 GOP primary. That means that the remaining 119 did not vote in either primary.
- But, is that any different from July? Not really. Recall that DeKalb County recorded 264 advance and absentee votes in the HD 80 special election. Of those, 77 had voted in the 2014 Democratic primary and 82 in the GOP primary, with the remaining 105 not voting in either primary. And no, they aren’t the exact same 77 Democrats. (66 of them are)
- And what was the overall party breakdown from the July special election? Of the 3,473 DeKalb County votes cast, 609 (17.5%) were by folks who had voted in last year’s Democratic primary, while 1,371 (39.5%) were by people who had voted in the Republican primary. That means 1,493 (43%) voters had not voted in either 2014 primary.
So it appears that the party composition of the advance/absentee voters in the runoff is not especially different from the party composition of the folks who voted early in the July special election. Even if there was, it would have been tough to draw a meaningful conclusion with such a limited amount of data. I can conclude one thing, however. DeKalb County likes to vote in person on Election Day.