Early Voting To Start In September In Some States

Keep an eye on early voting. From Naureen Khan at The NationalJournal:

Political junkies and undecided voters may have Nov. 6 circled on their calendars in red ink, but in reality, the 2012 election is not 99 days away. Early voting will start as soon as September in some states.

From in-person at designated polling places to absentee that requires no justification, early voting is becoming increasingly popular and accessible across the country. Election experts estimate that a record 40 percent of 2012 voters could cast their ballots before Election Day, up from 33 percent in 2008. Both campaigns eyeing a jubilant November are taking note.

The Obama campaign has some practice in this arena. With significantly more resources at its disposal than rival John McCain in 2008, it made banking early votes a top priority and deployed some smart campaign tactics to that end. Of those who cast early ballots in 2008, 58 percent favored Obama, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken just before Election Day, versus McCain’s 40 percent.

In 2012, voters will be able to cast their ballots early in person in 32 states, while 27 will offer no-excuse absentee voting. Election calendars are still being finalized, but if states hew to their schedules from 2010, some could begin voting as early as mid-September. By the end of that month, voters in the key swing state ofIowa will be casting early ballots.

Don’t expect the Romney campaign to be nearly as outgunned as McCain was four years ago. “It’s not clear that it advantages either party as a partisan thing per se,” said political scientist Christopher Mann of the University of Miami, a former Democratic consultant. “It advantages the party that is more organized and more committed to taking advantage of the alternative methods of voting available.”

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published this page in In The News 2012-07-30 10:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy