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Those of you who are following this election closely know that in many states people have already started voting. But even as someone who’s supposed to be in the know about this sort of stuff, I was surprised when I saw just how many votes have already been cast in a number of key states.

One other point to remember is that the national percentage of early voters can be deceiving. Many states don’t allow early voting at all, and only have very limited opportunities for absentee voting. So the percentages in states that do have early voting can dwarf the national average — and those states tend to be key swing states.

So with all that prologue I want to tell you about a site run by Prof. Michael McDonald of George Mason University that is compiling on-going statistics for early voting in states across the country. You can visit the site here. But here are a few nuggets.

If we take the 2004 vote total as the baseline, 31.8% of voters in Georgia have already cast their ballots; in Colorado, 37.9% have already voted; in Florida, 27% have already voted; in Nevada, 39.8% have already voted.

Now, remember, most people assume turnout will be higher in 2008 than 2004. So these percentages will probably be at least a bit lower when run against the 2008 totals. But these numbers still make clear that a week in advance of election day, in several of the key states we’re all watching, probably a solid third of the voting has already taken place.