Veteran political data expert Paul Mitchell sat down (remotely) with Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster on Friday to chat about early vote turnout, the partisan breakdown of those votes and how California compares to the national picture, expanding on last week’s CA120 column.
Record turnout among early voters is a story being played out across the country and California is no exception. In 2016 and 2018, less than 20,000 voters returned their ballots within the first week of receipt; this year, 250,000 voters cast their votes in that same period. At the time we recorded this podcast, a whopping six million Californians had already voted, far outstripping the early vote returns in previous elections.
The partisan breakdown of the early votes is notable as well. California Republicans have a strong tradition of early voting (“people who know where their stamps are,” Paul quipped), but the early returns this year have shown a 20 point shift toward Democrats. Is the president’s anti-VBM messaging depressing the GOP mail-in vote? If so, will they make up that ground on Election Day?