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Friday, August 15, 2008

OH: Early voting window seen as boost to Obama

11:56 AM

The Associated Press reports that Dem Barack Obama's campaign is eager to bank votes during a week-long early voting window that Ohio legislators accidentally created before the 2006 elections.

The window will allow first-time voters to register then immediately cast a vote between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6.
"This is one of many ways we'll be encouraging our supporters to skip the lines on Election Day and make sure their vote is cast early," said Isaac Baker, an Obama spokesman.

The move is likely to bring Obama to Ohio for nonstop campaigning that week. Also, television ads are expected to be in heavy play as both campaigns try to take advantage of the electoral oddity. And the early push could help neutralize any last-minute attacks by one campaign on the other.
Politico reporter Ben Smith points out that early voting is not confined to Ohio.
State rules vary, but Ohio isn't the only key state where this starts very early. Virginia has a 45-day window, meaning that the votes will start coming in in mid-September. Voting can start 40 days early in Iowa, 35 days early in Nebraska, 33 in Arizona, and more than three weeks early in Nevada and New Mexico.

In other words, many key votes will be case well before the period in which campaigns traditionally deliver their closing messages, and some even before key moments, like the debates, have passed.

Either party can take advantage of this, but in Ohio, Republicans seem particularly distressed by it. And Obama's success in banking early votes in the primary, in North Carolina in particular, suggest he's the one likeliest to turn this to his advantage.


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