More on military absentee voting: 2008 and 1944

December 9, 2008

I posted last month on absentee voting statistics for North Carolina reporting the following percentages of requested absentee ballots that were successfully voted for the 2008 general election:

I’ve gone deeper into the numbers and have found the following:

  1. Analyzing the absentee voter file, I see that 5,991 of the Military applications were already in hand by the counties on September 15, the 50th day before the general election, the first day that state law allows them to be mailed out.  On September 5th, the 60th day before the election, there were already 4,798 military applications in hand waiting to go out.
  2. G.S. 163-247 allows applications from the military to be valid for two general elections.  The file shows that 666 ballots were mailed out this year to the military based on applications from 2005 and 2006, of those 153 were voted (22.9% of the total) while 118 (17.7% of the total) came back undeliverable.  The 118 undeliverable from those 666 old applications compared with 181 undeliverable ballots from the 12,835 military applications that were received in 2007 and 2008. For those 153 voters the continued viability of their applications was very positive, but those analyzing statistics and comparing the military, civilian and overseas rates should be a bit wary. If you exclude the 2005 and 2006 applications from the “success” rate, the successful military ballots voted rises from 62.1% to 64.1%. Still a lot of room for improvement.
  3. The official 1945 North Carolina Manual published on pages 229-230 data on military and civilian absentee applications received for the wartime 1944 Presidential Election. North Carolina received 86,999 military applications, of which 46,583 were voted, 53.54% of the total. For civilians  in the 1944 general election, 25,755 applications were received and 21,268 ballots voted, 82.57% of the total. Interstingly, the “success” rate for civilian absentee voting in 2008 was 82.56%.
  4. When 2,958 federal war ballots (similar to the federal write-in ballots currently allowed when state ballots are late in arriving) received in 1944 in North Carolina are added into the 1944 total, the military voting rate rises from 53.54% to 55.3%.