press releases

MEMO: Republicans Have Made Up Ground In Early Voting

- October 26, 2016


Interested Parties


Chris Carr, RNC Political Director 


Republicans Have Made Up Ground In Early Voting


October 26, 2016

With early voting now underway in multiple states, the RNC’s commitment to boosting Republican turnout in early voting is poised to pay dividends up and down the ballot on Election Day.
Democrats have historically led in early voting but we make up the difference with Election Day balloting. In the 2012 presidential election, for example, we were down approximately 450,000 votes in early voting in North Carolina but still came back to win the state.

We’ve been able to improve our early voting numbers because our ground game team has knocked on over 12 million doors this cycle, besting the 11.5 million doors we did in 2012 with nearly two weeks still to go until the election. With more than 7,000 combined paid staff and trained organizers in the field, a total that surpasses the size of what we had in 2012, our expanded and dedicated field operations team has devoted millions of hours to winning races at every level.
Putting a dent in the Democrat early vote numbers was one of the goals we had in mind when we decided to revamp our ground game in 2013, and this cycle we have had a renewed focus on competing with Democrats right from the outset.
Here’s a quick look at a few key states:

  • We are leading in absentee ballot returns statewide. We are especially encouraged by our lead in the crucial I-4 corridor portion of the state, where we are ahead 42% to 39%


  • We have led in absentee mail returns in six of the past seven days, and we’ve cut the Democrats’ advantage to fewer than 20,000 returned ballots this cycle. At this point in 2012, we trailed Democrats in absentee ballots returned by 47,000.

North Carolina

  • We are growing our lead in absentee ballots returned. In the past seven days we have more than tripled our lead over the Democrats and we’re ahead in absentee ballot returns 40.5% to 33.5%. And there have been nearly 20,000 fewer ballots cast by Democrats in the first five days of early voting this year compared to the first five days of early voting in 2012.


  • Franklin, Montgomery, and Summit County, which President Obama all won by large margins in 2012, have all seen a double-digit drop off in absentee ballots from 2012, despite more Ohioans choosing to vote early overall.


  • We’ve made strong progress in boosting absentee requests from 2012 in top Republican counties: Washington County (49%), Ozaukee County (25%), and Waukesha County (28%).

Our mission of generating higher early vote numbers is just one component of what the RNC ground game is doing to win. All told, the RNC has thousands of staff and trained organizers and millions of volunteers spread out across 33 states, numbers far greater than what we had four years ago. Regardless of when Americans choose to vote, the RNC is leveraging a robust and well-trained ground game to produce Republican victories at all levels.  


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