Early voting statistics we’ve seen so far in some states are mind boggling.   As of this writing, in Colorado, 68.8% of the total number of votes cast in the 2004 presidential election have already been cast in early voting; in Georgia, it’s 53.5%; in Nevada, it’s 60.2%; in North Carolina, it’s 58.5%.   I think these incredible numbers so far point to one of two outcomes:

  1. The total voter participation on Tuesday is going to blow everyone away.   Anyone who has worried about voter turnout (me) will be forcibly silenced.   Could we see 80% turnout?   Can our polling places handle this kind of turnout?
  2. The high percentages are just voters taking advantage of early voting in their states.   Perhaps these numbers are comprised of a smaller block of new voters, say 30%, and the rest “normal” voters who fear excruciatingly long lines on Tuesday and want to get their voting out of the way.   In this scenario, turnout wouldn’t be much higher than 2004.

We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out.   For the states, though, who have invested in early voting programs, kudos to you.   By spreading out the amount of time people can vote, you’re encouraging more participation and minimizing Election Day problems.   Meanwhile, Connecticut doesn’t have an early voting program, so I have to brave the (hopefully-not-too-long) lines Tuesday.