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Michael P. McDonald
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Dr. Michael P. McDonald is Associate Professor of Government and Politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Entries by Michael P. McDonald

Early Voting Pulling Into the Station

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 10:18 PM

More than 17 million people have voted in the 2014 election. As the early vote pulls into the station, it is time to interpret the meaning of these numbers. I track early voting statistics here.

It's now possible to see how states are faring in their early vote...

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Early Voting Entering Final Stretch

(4) Comments | Posted October 26, 2014 | 6:32 PM

The last week of early voting -- and the last week before the election -- is upon us. As of Sunday, Oct. 26 over 7.6 million people have voted. If past patterns hold true, the number of voters will ramp up at an increasing rate as we enter the final...

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Early Voting Rounding the Bend

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2014 | 11:54 PM

With early voting in full swing, more than 1.9 million people have cast a ballot in the 2014 midterm elections. I track early voting statistics here.

Predictably, dueling spin about early voting has emerged from the Democratic and Republican camps. Republicans point to a better showing among early...

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Early Voting Picking Up Steam

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2014 | 6:39 PM

Early voting pace is starting to pick up steam. With a little more than three weeks to go, voters have cast 642,831 ballots in all reporting jurisdictions. I track the early vote and provide statistics here.

With so much early voting activity over 2010 in the key Senate...

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Early Voting and Still a Month to Go

(1) Comments | Posted October 4, 2014 | 1:30 AM

The second week of early voting has ended and 88,371 people have voted in all reporting states, with 31 days to go until Election Day on Nov. 4. I track these early voting statistics for states and localities that publicly report them here.

The majority of these voters...

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2014 Early Voting Underway

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2014 | 12:32 AM

Fall has just begun and voters are already casting ballots in key states holding U.S. Senate races that will likely determine which party will be the Senate majority. So far, at least 18,000 people have already cast mail ballots as of Friday, September 26, 38 days out from Election Day...

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Only Some Southern Whites Are the New Blacks (and Many Are Not)

(56) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 3:06 AM

Southern Whites didn't vote for Obama (and by association, won't vote for Democrats). So argues the New York Times' Nate Cohn in a provocative piece entitled "Southern Whites' Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats." Mr. Cohn goes on to warn, "The collapse of Democratic support...

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Does Turnout Doom Democrats in 2014?

(18) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 4:31 PM

I love turnout stories. There is a spooky one being told around Democratic campfires that goes something like this: Democrats will lose big in 2014 when Democrats disappear from the electorate.

All good scary stories have an element of truth. Yes, Democratic turnout is comparatively lower...

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Early Voting Looking Promising for McAuliffe

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 2:30 PM

Virginia early voting turnout data point in a similar direction as the polls that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is doing substantially better than the Democratic ticket did four years ago.

The method of early voting provides the first piece of evidence. As of Election Day morning, the number...

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North Carolina Speeds Up to Run Election Red Light?

(44) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 4:36 PM

Republicans are at it again, making it harder to vote. This time, North Carolina Republicans are contemplating reducing the number of days of in-person early voting, including the Sunday before the election; axing the state's "one-stop" voting which allows people to register and vote in-person early,...

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Geography Does Not Necessarily Lead to Pro-Republican Gerrymandering

(27) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 4:13 PM

In 2012, Republicans won control of the House of Representative despite Democratic candidates winning a combined 1.5 million more votes than Republican candidates. How is this possible? The aggregation of votes into single-member districts through redistricting is the cause. It has happened before. Similar anti-majoritarian outcomes occurred in the 2000...

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A Modest Early Voting Rise in 2012

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 5:29 PM

The percentage of voters who cast their ballot before Election Day modestly increased from 29.7 percent to 31.6 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a Census Bureau survey.

The Current Population Survey, November Voting and Registration Supplement asks respondents if they voted on Election Day or before Election Day....

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2012 Election: A Failure to Mobilize the Youth Vote

(12) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 5:44 PM

Among the most dramatic findings reported in the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) is a large decline in turnout rates among young people, particularly those who were first eligible to vote in the 2012 election. In contrast, older persons' turnout rates remained steady, or even increased. Given...

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2012 Turnout: Race, Ethnicity and the Youth Vote

(71) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 5:59 PM

An important election survey that reveals patterns in voting and registration is the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey November Voting and Registration Supplement, or CPS for short. The 2012 CPS reveals insights to major stories about the election divined from the exit polls: the changing face of the...

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Who Registers to Vote Online?

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 3:02 PM

A sensible election administration reform is quietly sweeping the nation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states have implemented or recently adopted online voter registration, either initiating a new registration or updating an old one. Twelve other states have legislation winding its way through the...

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Reassessing Colorado's Turnout

(6) Comments | Posted April 14, 2013 | 4:17 PM

Colorado legislators are contemplating changes to their election laws this week that may result in higher turnout. A report issued by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler figures prominently in the deliberations, which triumphantly touts "the most successful (election) in Colorado history," implying that no changes...

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Turnout in the 2012 Presidential Election

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 1:09 PM

The reelection of Barack Obama was tarnished by a lower voter turnout rate than 2008, dropping from 61.6% of those eligible to vote to 58.2%, or a decrease of 3.4 percentage points. Here, I place the 2012 turnout rate in historical perspective and analyze where turnout decreased, and...

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How Did People Vote and Who Did They Vote for?

(11) Comments | Posted January 13, 2013 | 11:16 PM

You know who won the 2012 presidential election. What you may not know is which candidate did best among the different ways that people vote.

A few states report their election results by how people voted: mail ballots, in-person early voting, Election Day voters, people who cast a provisional ballot,...

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Democrats Leaving Mail Ballots on the Table

(52) Comments | Posted November 3, 2012 | 3:48 PM

Both figurative and literally, registered Democrats are leaving requested mail ballots on the table. Democrats are returning the mail ballots at a lower rate than Republicans, leading to wide disparities among the ballots that have been cast compared to the ballots that are still sitting on kitchen tables across the...

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Early Voting Mesmerizing

(113) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 10:27 PM

With more than 10 million people already casting a ballot, early voting is on pace likely to exceed the 41 million cast in 2008. Next week will be crunch time as millions of people across the country cast ballots.

Everyone wants to know who is winning. In my commentary below...

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