I think that North Carolina and Georgia are the fascinating early voting stories of this election. Both are swing states (somewhat unexpectedly); both have large minority populations which are bucking past trends; and both have exhibited astronomical levels of early turnout.
North Carolina has reached the end of its “onestop” in-person voting period. We still don’t have the returns for today (expected to be high, with extended opening hours at many locations), and there are undoubtedly many absentee ballots currently in the mail system. All the same, early turnout has (at least) doubled from the last presidential election, to 2.35 million ballots cast
As of late Friday evening, the early turnout from this election was 66% of the total turnout from 2004. Again, we have the daily and cumulative ballot returns. On the right-hand graph, the 2004 partisan early voting totals are indicated by dashed lines.
It’s important to account for the different levels of party registration in the state (the Democrats have significantly more registered voters), so I’ve also generated a graph (left, below) that shows ballot returns as a percentage of each party’s registered voters. The Democrats still hold a commanding lead in turnout. On the right, all this information combined into one: ballot returns as a percentage of registered voters, for both 2004 and 2008. In 2004, the Democrats and Republicans were incredibly close by this metric.