Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tipping Points :: Early Voting In Swing States
As this long campaign enters its final two weeks, attention has turned to massive get-out-the-vote efforts, especially early voting.
Since this year's election could bring one of the highest turnouts on record, especially at precincts in communities of color and around colleges and universities, both parties and nonpartisan organizations like the League of Young Voters have already begun bringing people to the polls.
Early voting could very well make the difference. Nearly a third of all voters are expected to cast an early vote.
Polls show that Obama may be capturing sizable leads in the early vote. In part this may reflect the enthusiasm gap between the parties over their candidates. The Gallup Poll reported last week Democratic voters were 20-points more enthusiastic than their Republican counterparts about voting this year.
But the difference may also reflect the party's diverging tactical decisions. While the McCain campaign seems to have been concentrating on fighting "voter registration fraud" and laws that ease voting restrictions in the courts and on the airwaves, the Obama campaign has been dedicating big resources into galvanizing the early vote.
In Ohio, perhaps the key swing state, many who lived through the last two elections won't easily forget the long polling lines they faced. Some voters in 2006 waited in bad weather over 12 hours to cast their vote. Interest in early voting has been high, and not just among voters. Earlier this month, Republican officials unsuccessfully challenged the early voting laws. Ohio's early voters have favored Obama over McCain.
For the past two days, Senator Obama has been in Florida, the other crucial swing state, which began early voting this week. The Obama campaign also has early voting outreach efforts up in the important battlegrounds of Colorado, Nevada, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Montana.
In North Carolina--once a solidly red state--the Obama campaign has been putting together a particularly massive effort to encourage "1-stop voting". North Carolina law allows voters to register and vote by absentee ballot at any county polling place right away. These efforts seemed to be paying off. Over 200,000 have already voted in North Carolina and Obama may be leading by as many as 30 points over McCain.
In all, thirty-one states allow unrestricted early voting. For information on early voting rules for your state, check the Early Voting Information Center website. To check on where you can cast an early vote, check GoVote. And for voter guides put together by other young folks in your area (or to put one together yourself), check TheBallot.org.
posted by Zentronix @ 9:21 AM
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