The Democratic mantra is turnout and the party has been spending plenty on what it has described as an unprecedented effort to register, educate and turnout sympathetic voters.
That's why the interest was high in turnout on the first day of early voting on Monday.
Relying on preliminary numbers from the office of Secretary of State Mark Martin (no comment), the Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that 21,094 Arkansans voted Monday against 21,575 on the first day of early voting in the last midterm election in 2010.
Now comes an e-mail from Democratic Party Chair Vince Insalaco. He says the count was more like 27,008, with no count in yet from Independence, Woodruff and Lawrence. That would represent a whopping increase over 2010.
Insalaco also reported big percentage gains in counties targeted by the party — Pulaski County (up 49 percent); Washington, up 96%; Faulkner, up 61%, and Jefferson, up 45%
Absent verified checking of every county election commission, I'm not ready to hazard a guess on the actual numbers. But, over time, I've found Vince Insalaco more reliable than Mark Martin.
You know also what they say. The only poll that counts is the tabulation election day.
I've asked Martin's office if they're standing by yesterday's number; if it represented a complete list of counties and if the number reported for 2010 represented a final total for that year.
UPDATE: So far, the office had told me the numbers came from 4 p.m. and thus weren't a complete total.
UPDATE II: Martin's office said yesterday's count covered 63 counties. The counties have 24 hours to report.
I don't see much profit in playing this numbers game exhaustively. Hell, if turnout has increased it might be rabid new Republicans (though GOTV campaigns keep up with who has voted and who has not.) We'll know late Nov. 4.
UPDATE III: The secretary of state's office has posted
all 2010 and 2012 early voting numbers on its Facebook page if you'd like to muck about in this numbers game.