Kathleen Ronayne at AP:
Early voting in the crush of Super Tuesday states that hold primaries on March 3 amounts to a parallel campaign for the Democratic nomination. While much of the focus is on who will come out on top in the traditional first four voting states, early voting will allow a much broader swath of voters to play a key role in picking the nominee.
In Minnesota, in-person early voting began Jan. 17. Vermont’s deadline to mail out its absentee ballots was the same day. Many of the 14 Super Tuesday states will offer some form of early voting between now and mid-February.
The biggest early voting state, California, will mail ballots to more than 12 million voters starting Feb. 3, the same day as the Iowa caucuses, though not all of those voters will get a Democratic primary ballot. Colorado, North Carolina and Texas, which offer combinations of mail-in and in-person early voting, are also likely to have a high percentage of early voters, said Michael McDonald, a voting expert who directs the United States Elections Project at the University of Florida.
... At least one state, Minnesota, gives voters an option to retrieve their ballot and change their votes up to a week before Election Day.
California has by far the largest population of would-be early voters. Paul Mitchell, who runs the nonpartisan Political Data Inc. that analyzes and sells voter data, predicts about a quarter of the state’s eventual Democratic electorate will have cast ballots by the time Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22. He projects that will increase to 40% by the time South Carolina votes on Feb. 29.
“If you have people who are with you now, you need to bank those votes,” he said. “If you’re running a campaign and can turn out 1 million voters on Election Day, if you can get 200,000 of them to vote early, that reduces your workload.”
In Colorado, where everyone is mailed a ballot, state officials expect 60% of voters to send their ballots back early. In North Carolina, about a quarter of people could vote early, McDonald predicted.