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National Govt & Politics
Early vote shows clear surge, especially in younger voters
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Early vote shows clear surge, especially in younger voters

Early vote shows clear surge, especially in younger voters
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Early vote shows clear surge, especially in younger voters

With over 30 million votes already cast in the 2018 mid-term elections, the raw data about who is voting clearly shows a more energized mid-term electorate in many states than in the last mid-term election in 2014, with plenty of evidence that younger voters are getting out in much larger numbers as well, as the two parties try to figure out whether those benchmarks can help push them to victory on Tuesday.

As of Saturday, 28 states had already surpassed their mid-term early vote totals from 2014, according to University of Florida elections expert and early vote tracker Michael McDonald, as he said seven states have already doubled that last mid-term.

"I expect all 50 states plus DC will exceed their 2014 early vote. We may just not have the data before Election Day to validate it," McDonald said on Twitter.

The big question - obviously - is who the early vote helps. Let's take a look at a few examples of what's in the early vote numbers.

1. Georgia. With a close race for Governor driving turnout, the early vote in Georgia is already over 2 million - but the most remarkable part about that figure is the number of people who did not vote at all in 2014, now at almost 800,000 - almost 38 percent of all early ballots according to the GeorgiaVotes website. About half of those new votes from 2014 are from voters who are not white. With a black woman Democrat running for Governor, it will be interesting to see how the early vote breaks in that race.

2. Young voters. The age group of 18-29 is notorious for not voting in large numbers. But that seems to be changing in some states this year. In the above figures from Georgia, 19 percent of those who did not vote at all in 2014, but have already cast an early ballot, came from the 18-29 age group. Large increases in those voters are also coming from other states, like Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. Those four states just happen to be where Democrats are trying to win a GOP seat in the Senate. Will they really help the Democrats? Or are these votes breaking for the GOP? That's what we don't know right now.

3. Texas. One place that Democrats hope a big turnout of younger, first-time voters will help is in Texas, where Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) is trying to knock off Sen. Ted Cruz (R). There were already strong anecdotal reports of new voters turning out in O'Rourke's home turf around El Paso - as for the data on new voters, it shows many of them are non-white. Tom Bonier of the group Target Smart says at this point in the 2014 mid-terms in Texas, voters over age 65 were out-voting those under 30 by a 10-to-1 margin. In 2018, it's just a 3-to-1 margin. "Young voters will be heard," Bonier says.

4. Florida. Find me a Democrat, and they will say the Florida early vote numbers look good for them. Find me a Republican, and they will say the Florida early vote numbers look good for them. According to my eyes, the Florida early vote as of Saturday morning showed Republicans with a small edge in Vote-by-Mail, and Democrats with an edge in early voting. But the biggest figure that stands out is that Democrats have a lot more absentee ballots which have not yet been sent in. Major races in Florida tend to be very close, and the numbers are telling a familiar story in the Sunshine State again this year - at least so far.

Jamie Dupree
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vote18

Jamie Dupree

5. Nevada. Democrats have turned out a lot of votes in Clark County (around Las Vegas) and in Washoe County (around Reno), making things look good for them at this point. But, the nagging question that's there about the early vote is this - are you still going to have a big turnout on Election Day? We won't know that type of answer for Nevada or any other state until after the votes are in. But right now, Democrats have certainly done their turnout work in the Silver State.

6. What about the polls? Think about polling for a second. The pollsters all make their calls, and then they run their numbers through a turnout scenario, predicting what percentage of Republicans, Democrats and Independents will vote, whether to weight the vote for older voters, etc. But what if there is a big surge of younger voters - and first-time voters - and the polls aren't ready for that? Does that mean some of the numbers we are reading now won't be right? It's something to think about in the last few days of the 2018 campaign.

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News

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  • Drivers on I-35 in Dallas were surprised Monday morning to see a man driving a Lime scooter with the rest of traffic, cutting through five lanes in a seemingly nonchalant manner. >> Read more trending news  Driver Josh Weatherl captured the scooter rider on video with his dashboard camera just before 9 a.m. The unidentified man, wearing a backpack and headphones -- but no helmet -- checks over his shoulder before he crosses five lanes of traffic in about 15 seconds. Weatherl can be heard in the recording laughing and expressing his disbelief. 'Bro, what are you doing?' Weatherl exclaimed in the recording. 'Oh, my gosh. That is the most wild thing I've ever seen.' The man was probably going about 15 mph in a 60 mph zone, WFAA-TV reported. Weatherl told WFAA-TV he thought the man looked like he knew what he was doing. 'I think he’s done it before based on how calm he was, I don’t think this was his first rodeo,' Weatherl said. A Lime spokesman called the man's actions unsafe and said riders should not take the scooters onto highways, The Dallas Morning News reported.
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  • Attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein have appealed a judge's decision last week to hold the wealthy financier and accused child predator in jail pending his trial on allegations of sex trafficking. >> Read more trending news  Epstein's attorneys filed a notice of appeal Monday after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman denied their client bail last week. In his decision, Berman cited the potential danger Epstein poses to others and the community. The appeal was made public Tuesday, according to Reuters. Prosecutors last week asked Berman to hold Epstein, 66, without bail, arguing that he is a flight risk and danger to the community. Attorneys for Epstein denied that their client posed a flight risk and asked Berman to allow Epstein to be held under house arrest at his Manhattan mansion. Epstein is accused of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005 at his homes in New York and Florida, allegedly heading a sex trafficking scheme that saw his victims recruiting other girls to be abused.  He has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy charges. Epstein avoided significant jail time and prosecution in 2008 after he was accused of molesting girls in Palm Beach County, Florida. As part of a plea deal reached with federal prosecutors in Florida, Epstein pleaded guilty to two lesser counts of soliciting a minor for prostitution and agreed to register as a sex offender. He served 13 months in jail as part of the deal.
  • A Florida woman suffered a minor injury Monday after she was hit by a train in Tampa, WFLA reported. >> Read more trending news  Police said Anna C. Jenkins, 34, was walking along the railroad tracks shortly after 9 p.m. and was wearing headphones, which prevented her from hearing the approaching train, the television station reported. The train conductor told police he blew the train's horn when he saw a woman on the tracks and tried to the stop, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The conductor said the train was traveling about 17 mph, the newspaper reported. Jenkins suffered a laceration on her forehead and was taken to an area hospital, WFLA reported. She was listed in stable condition.
  • A Louisiana police officer who suggested in a Facebook post that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, should be shot, and another officer who “liked” the post were both fired Monday. Gretna, Louisiana, police officer Charlie Rispoli posted an entry Friday on Facebook suggesting that Ocasio-Cortez “needs a round.” “This vile idiot needs a round........and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.”Ocasio-Cortez was once a bartender in New York City. The story, first reported by Nola.com, included an image of the Facebook post that has since been deleted. Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson said at a press conference that Rispoli had been fired along with officer Angelo Varisco who “liked” Rispoli’s Facebook post. The post, Lawson said, reflected poorly on his department.  >> Read more trending news  “This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” Lawson said. “These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act be conducted against a sitting U.S. [congresswoman], a member of our government [and] we are not going to tolerate that.” The two officers were fired for violating the department’s social media policy, Lawson said. Rispoli had served in the department for 14 years while Varisco had been with the Gretna police for less than three years. It is unclear if Rispoli knew he was sharing and commenting on a post from a website that publishes satire on current events. Ocasio-Cortez responded to Rispoli’s firing on Twitter saying, “This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda. It’s authoritarian behavior. The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.” President Donald Trump has been feuding via Twitter with Ocasio-Cortez and three other Democratic U.S. congresswomen, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The four women have been dubbed “The Squad.” On Monday, Trump tweeted, 'The 'Squad' is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border...And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!