Thanks to early voting, hundreds of thousands of voters have already cast ballots in the 2008 elections. In the South, Florida and Texas kick off early voting today.

Michael McDonald at George Mason University has a great run-down on how early voting is shaping up across the country. Georgia and North Carolina keep especially good statistics on early voting, offering a snapshot on the demographics of early voters so far.

In Georgia, the big stories are (1) the size of the early vote turnout, and (2) the large numbers of African-American and women voters:
GEORGIA EARLY VOTING (as of 10/20/08)

Early votes: 691,507
Percent white: 60.7%
Percent black: 35.6%
Percent women: 56.1%
Percent men: 41.1%
2008 early vote as % of 2004 total vote: 20.8%
In North Carolina, the highlights are (1) the Democrats' lopsided early vote advantage, and (2) that African-American voters are turning out at a rate about 5 points higher than their shareof the electorate:
NORTH CAROLINA EARLY VOTING (as of 10/18/08)

Early votes: 279,274
Percent white: 69.9%
Percent black: 26.5%
Percent Democrat: 54.1%
Percent Republican: 29.7%
2008 early vote as % of 2004 total vote: 7.9%
While these numbers aren't useful in trying to predict the final outcome of the races in those states, they do give a sense of which voters are the most motivated and organized.