Several stories (here and here) have broken down the impressive numbers, which look to be record-setting. Early voting is not only ahead of the 2004 presidential primary, but has already surpassed the totals for 1996 and 2000.

But I wanted to note a couple of local points not covered elsewhere. (All of the early totals are here — just click on the bottom two links for the party you’re interested in.)

• The Democratic turnout has gotten most of the attention, but the Republican turnout is heavy, too. Some 32,000 people voted in the GOP primary in Dallas county in 2004; we’re already at 12,000 in early voting this time around. This made me wonder: Is there support for Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee in Dallas County that has escaped pundit notice? There don’t seem to any other races drawing Republicans to the primary.

• The Democratic totals, of course, are almost unprecedented. There were 53,000 Democratic ballots cast in 2004’s primary, and 47,000 already in early voting this year. There are two ways to look at this. Either it’s Barack-o-mania, or it’s part of the Hillary Clinton plan to win the primary in early voting.

• Also noteworthy has been Democratic turnout in normally Republican areas. At Fretz Park in North Dallas, Democratic ballots outnumber Republican about 2 1/2 to 1. The county doesn’t seem to have early voting reports by location for 2004 available, but George Bush beat John Kerry in many North Dallas precincts by 2 to 1 in 2004. The early voting numbers are similar at Dallas First Assembly in Lake Highlands and Northway Baptist in Preston Hollow.

• What really impressed me was turnout compared to last fall’s Trinity referendum. About 21,000 people voted early in that election, which was surprisingly high. The Democrats, of course, are way past that, and the Republicans could beat that total by the end of early voting. Early voting comprised about one-quarter of the total Trinity turnout. If that’s the case here, then we may get more voters for a primary than we got in the last three city elections combined.