160K Tennessee Republicans have already voted; how many voted for Bush?

February 22nd, 2016 by Perry

Tennessee’s Republican Primary on March 1 will help narrow the field among the GOP’s remaining competitive candidates: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Kasich and Trump are both planning events in Memphis (to take advantage of the Arkansas & Mississippi overlap).

Tennessee is one of many states to vote that day, but what sticks out to me is that between February 10 and February 20: 162,520 Tennessee Republicans used early voting to cast their ballots. I wonder, how many voted for Jeb Bush? Bush dropped out the night of February 20.

Surely not a lot; that’s the reason Bush dropped out. He was unable to post strong numbers. But let’s say he took 5% - will 8,000 votes make a difference on March 1? Likely not, but I think most campaigns would rather have had the opportunity to compete for those votes than for them to make no difference at all.

Texas and Georgia also vote on March 1. Texas, home of George W. Bush (and Ted Cruz) has been doing early voting since February 16. Georgia started in-person early voting before the New Hampshire Primary on February 8 (in addition to Jeb Bush, Governor Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina were both still in the race then, as well).

In Ohio, if you vote early and your candidate drops out, not only do you not make a difference, your vote isn’t even counted: (NBC News)

Matt Borges, head of the Ohio Republican Party, said he predicts one-third of voters will vote early in Ohio.

Voters are heading to the polls even as the field continues to narrow.

In Ohio, for instance, any candidate that dropped out after February 4 - Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum - will still be on the ballot but their votes won’t be tabulated.

I’ve written about my opposition to early voting many times.

I believe it increases the opportunity for election fraud, lengthens the campaign season while diminishing political debate, creates logistical challenges for election officials, and substitutes a civics of convenience for our citizen fellowship. (”Rejecting early voting“)

Unlike absentee ballots, where you can show up at the poll on election day and vote and your absentee ballot is removed, you can’t change your mind. Late debates, breaking news, closing arguments - none of that matters if you’ve used early voting to cast your ballot. (“Voting early ignores debates”)

I wonder how different the results on March 1 would be if more voters waited until March 1 to cast their vote.

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