While the focus is on Election Day six days away, voters in some states have already been going to the polls for a least one week. At this point in 2014, 12,938,596 Americans had voted. The number of early votes cast for the 2018 Midterm Elections has already surpassed that by 11,086,025 votes as 24,024,621 Americans have already cast ballots. This is not quite at the 2016 Presidential Election early vote level, but it’s close. In 2016, 29,196,380 Americans had voted at this point, roughly five million more than have voted so far this year.
What does this mean for key races? Early voting is up from 2014 levels in every key state. In 2014’s midterm, 594,113 people had voted in Arizona, 1,971,434 in Florida, 519,503 in Georgia, 117,441 in Indiana, 141,783 in Montana, 175,110 in Nevada, 216,962 in Tennessee, and 1,360,966 in Texas. Today each of those numbers has at least doubled with 1,036,685 people having voted in Arizona, 3,030,173 in Florida, 1,505,699 in Georgia, 371,544 in Indiana, 220,075 in Montana, 446,532 in Nevada, 1,086,849 in Tennessee, and 3,978,905 in Texas.
In Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Texas, and Tennessee this year, Republicans are leading the early vote. In a state like Nevada where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 75,000, Nevada Republicans have had a 3-point swing compared to their 2016 early vote performance. None of these positive signs tell the final story of these races, however. Republicans should not take anything for granted and instead keep their foot on the gas for their GOTV operations to ensure that every last one of their voters shows up, either during early vote or on Election Day. When some of these key contests may come down to 2-3 points, a strong and effective ground effort from the start of early voting through Election Day may make the difference.