Early votes and election outcome
Record numbers of Americans voted early this year -- how these votes are possible predictors of the election's outcome.
An estimated 24 percent of Americans have already voted in some states -- it's well over 50 percent of the number of people who voted in 2004.
Record numbers of Americans voted early this year. Michael McDonald, a voting expert and professor at George Mason University, analyzes what we know about those early votes, and what they say about what will happen tomorrow:
"We've already had somewhere around 28 million people that we can document [who] have already voted in this election, and the polls indicate ... that they look to be overwhelmingly breaking towards Barack Obama, and that's a departure from previous elections -- usually Republicans do very well among early voters ... this year we find an exact reversal of that where Obama is winning 60-40 percent.
"We've seen a very high volume of early voting in some states. We've already broken some records in Georgia, we've already tripled the number of early voters from 2004, so we're seeing a tremendous amount of voting already taking place in some states that have more permissive early voting laws. And so if that vote piles up in some of these key battleground states, and it looks to be breaking favorably for Obama -- if all those things are correct -- then it's going to be very difficult for McCain to come from behind in some of these states in the last days of the election..."
McDonald explains how and when early votes are counted: "By law, we have to count all these votes on Election Day ... even though people are voting now, and they're casting those votes, those votes will not actually be opened up and looked at until Election Day."
"The Takeaway" is PRI's new national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.
More at thetakeaway.org