30 million plus absentee ballots are out .. and election “day” has begun

The 2016 election “day” has begun!

It is 46 days before Tuesday, November 8th and 25 million or more absentee ballots are in the mail for delivery to voters.

Why today?  The Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment Act, passed in 2010, mandated a 45 day transit time for overseas ballots.

In response, most states have also moved the time when they send domestic absentee ballots to correspond to the 45 day timeline.  The (unintended) consequence is that 30 million or more ballots hit the mails, on their way to voters, today and tomorrow.

The race is on!

In the 2012 election, data collected by the Election Assistance Commission showed that over 33 million domestic absentee ballots were transmitted and over 27 million were eventually returned and submitted for counting. (Due to incomplete reporting by states to the EAC’s Election Administration and Voting Survey, these are both underestimates.)

Some battleground totals from 2012:

State Ballots Trasmitted Ballots Returned
Arizona 1.9 million 1.5 million
Florida 2.8 million 2.3 million
Georgia 1.9 million 1.9 million
Iowa 739,000 684,000
Michigan 1.3 million 1.25 million
Ohio 1.3 million 1.25 million

To be clear, not all states mail their absentee ballots this week.  (I wish I could provide a precise list, but it’s quite difficult to obtain–many states respond to the question “when they are ready” or “it’s up to the counties.)