The Alaska Division of Elections (DoE) put out a new batch of absentee and early voting statistics today and it shows some interesting trends.
Here are the numbers as they posted them today:
Absentee by mail voting, long a strength of for the Alaska Republican Party is down sharply. The last day to request an absentee by mail ballot was 10 days before the election This year that was October 28th. Therefore the 30,819 absentee by mail ballots DOE says it has now issued is the total that should be issued for the entire election.
Here are the absentee ballot numbers for the last two presidential elections in Alaska:
In 2012, 33,940 absentee by mail ballots were issued and in 2008 that number was 45,769. If we project the highest return rate from either of those years, 88% in 2012, this year’s absentee by mail returns should come in at 27,120. That is almost 3,000 shy of 2012 and 12,000 short of 2008.
That drop off in absentee is being more than made up for by elevated early vote and in-person absentee voting. Those two categories are when someone physically shows up to a DoE office to vote before election day and have historically favored Democratic candidates in Alaska
With 5 days of early and in-person absentee voting still to take place, the number of people early voting this year (22,114) has already exceeded 2012’s total (19,937) and is quickly closing in on and will certainly exceed 2008’s total (24,512).
There is evidence the ratio of registered Republicans to registered Democrats early voting and absentee in-person voting has shifted slightly towards Republicans. Because Alaska has such a high rate of voters who affiliate with no political party (52.7%), however, partisan voter registration, which is a generally poor predictor of election outcomes, is even less predictive in Alaska.