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A note on provisionals

The Associated Press and television networks have already painted North Carolina blue for Barack Obama, but the state still has ballots left to count.

The counties report having more than 53,700 provisional ballots that won't be counted until next week, Lynn Bonner reports. Those include more than 4,000 each in Mecklenburg and Wake counties, and more than 2,000 each in New Hanover and Robeson counties.

Obama holds a 13,692 vote lead in the state according to the unofficial tally.

Gary Bartlett, head of the State Board of Elections, has said that historical trends show that in the end, the candidate who was ahead on Election Day ends up with a wider lead.


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Re: A note on provisionals

Noteworthy stats, Gerry. I suspect what we'd find would be a connection between those voters you described and younger voters, first-time voters, sporadic (not regular) voters, more mobile voters, and voters without drivers licences--all of which groups were more likely to go for the Democrat in both 2004 and 2008. Older, more settled, wealthier voters--in other words, more conservative voters on average--would break for Bush and McCain.

some past provisional returns

Some history on provisionals:

In 2004, Kerry carried Mecklenburg 52-48, the provisionals broke 61-39 for Kerry. For Forsyth, the election day results went 53-47 for Bush, Kerry won the provisionals 62-38. Cumberland went 51-48 for Bush, Kerry carried the provisionals 56-44. Why? The type of voters casting provisional ballots are those who show up at the wrong polling place, show up at the correct polling place but forgot to notify the county of an address change, or voters for whom ID is required and get it to the Board of Elections by canvass day. Is there a connection between confused voters and party preference? Draw your own conclusions.

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