Friday, November 03, 2006

Absentee Balloting Up Slightly

Based upon figures released to AI by the Marion County Election Board today, absentee balloting is up slightly from recent off-year elections. Typically in Marion County, about 5.1% of the total votes cast in an off-year election are cast in the form of an absentee ballot. As of the close of business today, the Election Board reported about 8,600 mailed-in absentee ballots and another 2,200 walk-in absentee ballots, or a total of 10,800. That's up about 400 votes from the last off-year election for which absentee ballot numbers are available, and absentee balloting will continue through Tuesday, when the last eligible absentee ballots to be counted will arrive. Here's some figures from the most recent off-year elections:

2002: 198,341 total votes cast (absentee ballot numbers N.A.)
1998: 205,242 total votes cast (10,449 absentee ballots/5.09%)
1994: 199,134 total votes cast (10,225 absentee ballots/5.13%)
1990: 197,997 total votes cast (10,025 absentee ballots/5.09%)

As of the May, 2006 primary, there were 614,583 registered voters in Marion County. In the last general off-year election in 2002, there were 549,086 registered voters in Marion County. It should be pointed out that the clean-up of the statewide voter registration database this past summer resulted in about 553,000 registered voters statewide being purged from the active voter registration list, or about 10% of all registered voters. The actual active number of registered voters in Marion County is probably much closer to the 2002 number. It didn't make sense to me that no absentee ballot numbers would be available for 2002, but that's what the Election Board's website indicates.

To the extent that the number of actual absentee ballots is predictive of voter turnout, indications are that voter turnout might be up this year compared to recent off-year elections, although not as much as some might think given the current perceived atmosphere of voter discontent. It's also possible that more people are voting absentee this fall because of uncertainty over the state's new voter ID law.


Anonymous said...

I'm really amazed it's not up even more than you indicate it is so far. Considering this is the proposed solution to "bypass" the Voter ID law.

Anonymous said...

Marion County Election Board Meeting Minutes

Administrator update. Robert Vane gave the following absentee statistics from previous
elections: 4,096 from the Primary of 2004 and 8,801 from the General of 2003. He projected
that we would receive between 25,000 and 30,000 absentee ballots this election and stated he
would order more absentee ballot applications.

Anonymous said...

Dang - I just saw it was 2004 !