Early voting in North Carolina passed a significant milestone this week: More than 1 million voters have already cast their votes at One-Stop Voting sites across the state, and another 91,000 or so have voted by mail.

NC’s conservative think tank, the John Locke Foundation, has a useful tool for analyzing early voting numbers at CarolinaElections.com, begun as a way to assure Republicans that there is nothing shady about early voting, and that rigging an election is a lot harder than people think.

In and of themselves, the numbers tell a tale.

It’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison to 2020, when there was a hot presidential race on the ballot and more than 3.62 million of us voted early and another million by mail. But we’re ahead of 2018 early-voting numbers at this point in time.

Many things have changed in those ensuing years, but the most striking one concerns the electorate itself, which has become majority non-partisan as the largest subset are unaffiliated voters.

Interestingly enough, unaffiliated voters make up the smallest percentage of those who have already voted — outside of Libertarian and Green parties, that is, which have thus far garnered fewer than 3,000 early votes combined — with 29.5 percent.

As usual, early voting favors Democrats, who account for 39.1 percent of all early and mail-in votes, while registered Republicans make up 31.1 percent.

These numbers correlate at the county level in both Forsyth and Guilford. And they hew closely with 2018 in terms of demographics and raw numbers.

So these numbers are more or less useless when it comes to prognosticating election results, which since 2016 (or even earlier) has been a fool’s errand. But they show that early voting is extremely popular with voters of all affiliations, and especially among the Olds — the age range of early voters heavily favors people over 50 years of age.

It’s also useful to demonstrate to election-deniers the efficacy and accuracy of our elections, and that there is nothing shady about voting early.

But if they don’t get the results they want, they still probably won’t believe it.

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