The nature of turnout has changed in the United States: a shift in state policies has transformed a singular Election Day into a multi-week voting period. During the 2012 election, we assembled daily snapshots of early voting records across the U.S. We observe where and when individuals with key demographic characteristics voted. By measuring the timing of voting by demographic subgroups within small geographic areas, we assess how the early voting period may differentially affect various politically relevant subsets of the electorate. We find that partisans and older voters disproportionately take advantage of early voting, and that political independents and younger individuals who vote early do so much later in the early-voting window. We discuss policy implications, and we also conduct an exploratory analysis of the relationship between early vote timing and campaign events.
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