Here is data from the sixth week since the start of voting in North Carolina, including the first week of one-stop voting.
Absentee requests per week plunge
The total number of requests as of the morning of Monday, October 12 stands at 1,373,004 (see figure 1 for trendline) according to data from the NC State Board of Elections (SBE). That includes 639,028 Democrats, 265,867 Republicans, and 460,666 unaffiliated.
With the option of one-stop (early in-person) voting available, absentee-by-mail requests have plunged to only around 41,000 compared to around 90,000 the previous week. While the number of requests for last week will be revised upwards once all counties get their reports in, that revised number will still represent a significant drop.
With just eight days until the October 27 to request an absentee ballot, it appears that less than 1.5 million North Carolina voters will request absentee ballots.
Democrats currently have an advantage in early turnout compared to 2016, but unaffiliated turnout soars
As seen at the Civitas Institute’s Vote Tracker (Figure 2), 1,526,972 ballots have been submitted and accepted as of October 18, with 60.1% of those cast by one-stop and 39.9% by mail.
As seen in Figure 3, that includes ballots from 708,354 Democrats, 379,640 Republicans, and 433,498 unaffiliated voters. As of the fourth day of early voting on October 18, 46.4% of all ballots cast were from Democrats, 24.9% were from Republicans, and 28.4% were from unaffiliated voters. By comparison, the proportions on the fourth day of early voting in 2016 were 48.4% Democrats, 27.2% Republicans, and 24.2% unaffiliated voters.
(With one-stop voting started, I am dropping the “proportion of absentee ballots accepted by party” chart.)
As of yesterday, 608,744 absentee ballots have been accepted, including 123,463 mail votes added last week. Unless there is a large uptick in mail ballots sent in over the next three weeks (including several days after election day), North Carolina may have less than a million mail votes this election. While that roughly 20% of all ballots cast would be a large increase over the normal 4-5% mail ballot rate, it is much less than the 30-40% predicted by NC State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell.
Unaffiliated registrations overtake Republicans
The net gain in unaffiliated voter registrations has surpassed those of Republicans for the first time during the 2020 voter period. As seen at the Civitas Voter Registration Changes webpage, there was a net gain of 16,752 unaffiliated registrations last week compared to a net gain of 14,364 Republicans and 13,744 Democrats. There has been a net increase of 66,561 unaffiliated voters, 66,001 Republicans, and 50,125 Democrats (see Figure 4) since September 5, the day after absentee ballots were first mailed out.
Over a comparable period in 2016, there was a net gain of 67,140 unaffiliated voters, 32,112 Democrats and 31,143 Republicans.