I spent part of this weekend pouring over the election-returns data collected since early-voting was instituted in Florida. Additionally, I read up on literature analyzing this topic. One set of statistics jumped out at me, because it added credence to my argument that the recently-signed, controversial elections bill won’t hurt Democrats as much as they fear.
According to Florida Senate Interim Report 2011-118, in the each of the four primary election cycles with early-voting, more Republicans have actually early-voted than Democrats (contrary to popular opinion):
Aggregate turnout GOP vs. Dem:
2010 – 191,982 vs. 147,568
2008 – 116,555 vs. 115,622
2006 – 127,876 vs. 119,795
2004 – 5,872 vs. 4,085 (this was the first election with early-voting, so the data was a little sketchy).
Additionally, if not more importantly, during the last general election, Republican turnout exceeded Democratic turnout in early voting turnout for the first time:
Aggregate turnout GOP vs. Dems:
2010 – 483,174 vs. 436,966
2008 – 805,945 vs. 1,367,740
2006 – 322,590 vs. 346,089
2004 – 297,002 vs. 328,293