2020 AZ Primary Early Vote Wrap-Up

What happened and what it means for November

With the primary election tomorrow, we’re giving you our takeaways from the early vote data. There are still tens of thousands of ballots to be cast on Election Day, but the ballots mailed back thus far paint an interesting picture.

Here are the high-level highlights you need to know going into Tuesday:

  • 1,063,828 Ballots Cast
  • 2,316,329 Ballots Requested
  • 45.6% Return Rate
  • 26.7% Turnout
  • 0.9% Democrat Ballot Advantage (representing 9,900 ballots) 

Interesting takeaways: 

  1. Turnout is high: We have seen more overall ballots returned than ever before in a primary election – 1,063,828. As a comparison, we saw about 835,000 ballots returned in 2018 and 682,000 in 2016. While we don’t know yet if these are people who would usually drop their ballots off, we are on pace to hit at least 30% overall turnout.
  2. Democratic turnout is exceeding Republican turnout: While we don’t know how Election Day turnout will fare, we are on pace to see something that we haven’t seen in Arizona in at least the last two decades – more Democratic ballots cast than Republican ballots. There is some hope for Republicans, though, Democrats have 1.4% more of their ballots returned. That 1.4% represents about 15,000 Republican ballots.   
  3. More Independents have cast Democratic ballots than Republican: In Arizona, Independents can choose to vote in either party primary or cast a non-partisan ballot. This year, they have cast a total of 117,845 ballots and about 8,800 more in Democratic primaries than Republican. As a comparison, in the previous two cycles Independents have cast between 10,000 and 12,000 more ballots in Republican primaries than in the Democratic primaries.

While primary turnout does not specifically correlate to general election performance, Republicans need a big Election Day performance to mitigate some of these troubling numbers. Democrats have not traditionally had a lot of primary elections – which has driven down their turnout in the last two cycles – but high turnout this year is occurring in places with and without contested primaries on the Democratic side. 
We will have at least one additional update from Maricopa and Pima counties today that can be seen here. Stay tuned for a full debrief post-election to see if these trends from mailed early ballots held or if the trends simply represented Democratic voters mailing in versus dropping off on Election Day because of COVID concerns.

*Data is current as of 8/02/20 at 6:00pm*
Looking ahead to the General Election
 As mentioned before, we decided to share our entire primary ballot tracker with the public but will be providing general election early vote tracking via paid subscription only. We apologize for any confusion we may have caused in our previous email regarding the general election subscription model. We will continue to release basic, high level numbers publicly for the general election (total ballots and party breakdown, statewide only) but for those looking for greater detail and analysis, we will be offering two subscription levels.

Level One will provide full current year breakdowns similar to what is currently shown on our primary election tracker.

Level Two will have comparison data for the previous two cycles and will add in additional filtration features.

If you have any questions or would like to subscribe for the general election tracker, you can contact Data Orbital here

ABOUT DATA ORBITAL: 

Data Orbital is a full-service data solutions and survey research firm with local, state, and national experience.  We offer precise data solutions, informed by political and policy intelligence, so our clients can chart the right course through the corporate or political landscape ahead. 


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