Massachusetts first experiment in early voting ended on Friday, and the results are in ... sort of.
About one million voters, or about twenty percent of registered voters across the Commonwealth, cast early ballots this year.
The availability of polls every day for two weeks didn't necessarily mean voters didn't have to wait in line. Some voting locations — Boston's City Hall being one notable example — drew lines from the morning polls opened to the evening they closed until Election Day.
But overall, the early voting process seems to have been greeted with enthusiasm by voters, competence by poll workers, and general approval all around.
The experiment was, it seems, a successful one — unless you were hoping for data.
Individual votes are not, by statute, to be counted until Election Day — a practice common to states conducting early voting.
But other statistics that are, in theory, public, have been between hard and impossible to come by.
Massachusetts' Secretary of Commonwealth, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, declined to make public any but the most general data: statewide turnout. Numbers showing where early votes were cast — whether by zip code, town, or county — have become available only as they are gleaned from individual town election commissions.
As polls closed in Boston on Friday evening, with a line wrapping around City Hall Plaza, more than 50,000 votes were cast citywide — about twelve percent of registered voters in the city.
Boston officials said that voter registration is up this election — about 416,000 registered voters, compared to 387,000 in 2012.
How Does Massachusetts stack up?
At least compared to key swing states, early voting hasn't had the same momentum in Massachusetts that it has elsewhere.
— In Florida, about 5.1 million voters, or about 45 percent of registered voters, cast ballots in that state's two-week early voting period. The results aren't known yet, but some exit polling has suggested increased turnout among Latino voters.
— In North Carolina, about 44 percent of registered voters cast early ballots. Recent polling has suggested depressed (early) turnout among African American candidates, a key demographic if Clinton is to flip the state, which was narrowly carried by Mitt Romney in 2012.
— In Ohio, another battleground state, early voting turnout has been lower than in 2012 and significantly lower than many other swing states: about 1 million voters, or around 12 percent of registered voters, have cast ballots so far.
— In Arizona, a traditionally red state which Democrats hoped to flip this election, early voting turnout hit about 10 percent of registered voters. The most recent tally indicates significantly higher turnout (about 70 percent more) among registered Democrats so far, and a slight overall edge in turnout over registered Republicans.