Increasingly, last-minute campaign tactics are losing their effectiveness. The “October surprise” or that zero-hour air drop of cash into a close campaign means less and less.
The reason is early voting.
To put that into perspective, in the last midterm election the state had 502,873 eligible voters of which 240,876 cast a ballot for a 47.9 percent turnout rate.
In 2014, thanks to population growth, North Dakota has seen an 8.38 percent increase in the number of eligible voters to 545,020. If we see the same turnout rate in 2014 as we did in 2010, that would mean about 261,256 ballots will be cast by the time everything is counted.
If 73,612 ballots have already been cast, that’s over 28 percent, or a significant chunk of the electorate.
It’s hard to say if turnout will be up or down from 2010 – the June primary turnout was historically low, but there are eight hotly-contested ballot measures on the November ballot that will draw a lot of voter interest – but suffice it to say that early voting is having a big impact on how these campaigns turn out.