And while the votes themselves will remain secret until the polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, what’s not a secret are the party affiliations of those who’ve voted.
Registered Democrats currently hold a 2-to-1 advantage over those registered as Republicans, and hold a similar lead over those registered as unaffiliated.
In fact, Republican and unaffiliated voters combined just barely surpass Democrat totals.
But these totals — while enlightening — are certainly not a barometer for the most contentious presidential race in recent memory.
First, it’s early; as of Oct. 24, there were still 11 days remaining on which voters can vote early.
Second — especially this year — not all of those Democrats will be voting for Hillary Clinton, and not all of those Republicans will be voting for Donald Trump. Both candidates have reached heretofore-unseen levels of unpopularity in a race that has left many scratching their heads, or worse, holding their noses.
Third, very generally, Democrats historically vote early in greater numbers than Republicans do.
And finally, in 2012 there were 27,679 votes cast in Haywood County in the Obama/Romney contest; that means that after just three-and-a-half days of early voting, the 4,274 voters who have already cast their ballots represent 15.4 percent of the total amount of people who voted in 2012.
Extrapolating that out over the remaining 11 (or so) days of One Stop voting means that around 17,000 Haywood County voters could reasonably be expected to avail themselves of One Stop voting before it ends on Saturday, Nov. 5.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, 56 percent of North Carolinians utilized this method of voting in 2012; therefore, if that hypothetical 17,000 is 56 percent of the total amount of votes cast in Haywood County, the total amount of votes cast in this election could reach upwards of 30,350, or almost 10 percent higher than in 2012.
By the numbers
Haywood County one-stop voting by party affiliation as of 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24.
Source: Haywood County Board of Elections