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Entries in Early Voting (14)

Tuesday
Nov062012

Battleground State Early Voting Tallies

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Polls may have opened nationwide Tuesday morning, but the election has been under way for weeks thanks to early and absentee voting, and millions have already cast their ballots.

It is expected that 46 million people will have voted before Election Day this year, and their votes will make up roughly 35 percent of the total votes cast in this cycle.  That's an increase from 2008, when the total early and absentee vote was roughly 40 million and accounted for 30 percent of the total votes cast.

Out of the eight states that ABC News currently considers "toss-ups" -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin -- all but New Hampshire allow for some form of in-person early voting.  (New Hampshire only allows mail-in absentee voting for those who can't make it to the polls on Election Day.)

Four of the states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa and Nevada -- register voters by political party, so their early vote count includes a party breakdown.  In three of these states -- Florida, Nevada and Iowa -- Democrats have a slight advantage in terms of early votes, while in Colorado, Republicans have the advantage.

But the vote is close in all these battlegrounds, and in each one voters registered as "no party" or "unaffiliated" -- more commonly called independents -- make up a sizable percentage of the voting population, which heightens the uncertainty about who is actually ahead in the final, crucial hours.

Below is a breakdown of where the early vote count stands in these battlegrounds:

COLORADO - 1,872,987

  • Dem -- 34.3%
  • Rep -- 36.1%
  • Other -- 29.6%


FLORIDA - 4,469,393

  • Dem -- 42.9%
  • Rep -- 39.1%
  • Other --18%


IOWA - 640,248

  • Dem -- 42.3%
  • Rep -- 32.1%
  • Other -- 25.6%


NEVADA (reports numbers by county)

  • Clark County (the most populous in the state) - 484,363
  • Dem -- 47%
  • Rep -- 33%
  • Other -- 19%


And here's the early vote numbers in battlegrounds that don't register voters by party affiliation:

OHIO - 1,791,334

VIRGINIA - 427,987

WISCONSIN - 412,611

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

South Florida Voters Waiting Four Hours to Vote Early

Comstock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Voters in some parts of Florida are waiting as long as four hours to cast their ballots before early voting ends Saturday night.

The Miami-Dade County Election Department was reporting early voting wait times in excess of one hour at all 20 of its polling locations. At two locations – the Election Department main office and the North Dade Regional Library – officials were reporting wait times of four hours.

The ballot in Miami-Dade County is five pages long, front and back, with an estimated completion time of as long as 30 minutes.

Farther north, in the Tampa Bay area, election officials were reporting shorter wait times at most polling sites, with only a handful exceeding 45 minutes.

When asked about how waiting voters were reacting to the lines in Hillsborough County, Travis Abercrombie, the public information coordinator for the Hillsborough County Elections Office, said they have “the patience of Job.”

The early voting window was reduced by Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott from 14 to 8 days, or from 120 to 96 hours.

The large turnout in some South Florida counties prompted some groups, including the League of Women Voters and the Florida Democratic Party, to call on Scott to extend voting hours, as then-Gov. Charlie Crist did in 2008. But Scott declined, telling reporters at a fundraiser in Newberry, Fla., that early voting would end Saturday night, as scheduled.

“Once again, Rick Scott has sided against the people of Florida,” said Scott Arceneaux,  executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.  "In rejecting calls for an extension of early voting hours, Scott has failed in his constitutionally obligated duty, broken with the history of past Republican governors and reminded Florida voters why they continue to hold a negative opinion of this governor. The people of Florida will not forget his failure to stand up for their right to vote.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

Joe Biden Pushes Early Voting on "Late Show with David Letterman"

Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden hit the late-night comedy scene Thursday night by reading his “Top Ten″ list of reasons to vote early on the Late Show with David Letterman.

“Honestly, don’t you want this election over with already?” Biden said as his number one reason to vote early.

Throughout their campaign stops in October, Biden and President Obama encouraged supporters to head to the voting booths early to help them win some of the key battleground states. 

Immediately after Biden stepped off the stage in Ocala, Fla., Wednesday afternoon, an Obama for America team leader took the stage to inform supporters that volunteers were waiting outside the event to drive them to cast their ballots early.

Biden’s Top Ten Reasons to Vote Early:

10. I’m not saying each early voter gets a free cheeseburger, but I’m not saying they don’t either.

9. It’s vastly more effective than voting late.

8. You know who votes early?  People with a backbone like a ramrod.

7. In a less crowded polling center, there’s plenty of room to stretch out, linger and relax.

6. If you vote early you don’t have to pay taxes.  I’m sorry I’m being told that’s not accurate.

5. Single and looking to mingle?  Find that special someone in the early voting booth.

4. Of course, there’s the open bar.

3. Not exercising your right to vote is malarkey -- it’s literally malarkey.

2. Early voters will receive a $5 million donation from Donald Trump.

1. Honestly, don’t you want this election over with already?

Biden concluded his early voting roundup by thanking Letterman for having him on the show and warning him, “Dave, I hope to hell you voted.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

In Nevada, Paul Ryan Urges Early Voting One Day Before Deadline

Steve Pope/Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- Paul Ryan had a direct message for Nevadans on Thursday: “Early voting doesn’t end until tomorrow so don’t forget that you can get out and early vote.”

Ryan told several hundred people in this battleground state that Nevada is “crucial.”

“A handful of states are going to determine this thing,” he said at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

Ryan then told the crowd to talk to those in their lives who may have helped Barack Obama defeat John McCain there four years ago.  It’s a theme he’s struck at many campaign stops.

“In a state where you have unemployment above 11 percent, [hope and change is] not working,” he said.

According to the Nevada Secretary of State, 533,064 votes have already been cast, which is 55 percent of the total votes cast in 2008.  Of those ballots, 235,514 are from registered Democrats, 200,678 are from registered Republicans, and 96,872 are from “other.”

A Pew Research Center survey finds the race is neck-and-neck among early voters, a stark contrast with this point in 2008, when Obama led McCain by 19 points among those who had voted early.

Ryan headed to Las Vegas next, where he greeted volunteers at a campaign office.  President Obama was also in Las Vegas Thursday afternoon holding a rally in front of 4,500 people on his first day back on the campaign trail after taking a break from politics to deal with the devastation of superstorm Sandy.

The president and Ryan have been circling each other on Thursday.  Both stopped in Wisconsin and Colorado.  The GOP vice presidential nominee began his day in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., after taking his children trick-or treating Wednesday night, then held an event in Greeley, Colo.  The president was in Green Bay, Colo., where Ryan was Wednesday, and ended his day with an event in Denver Thursday evening.

Ryan will head back to Colorado on Friday, stopping in Montrose before traveling to Iowa for a campaign event in Cedar Falls, and ending the day with a joint rally with his running mate, Mitt Romney, as well as scores of other surrogates in West Chester, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct292012

How Sandy Affects Early Voting in Swing States

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There are five battleground states in Sandy’s path including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.

Pennsylvania and New Hampshire do not offer in-person early voting, so it’s likely that the storm won’t have much of an impact on voting in either of those states, but in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina early voting is increasingly popular. Below is a look at how the storm has impacted early voting in these battlegrounds.

VIRGINIA

Virginia is the state where Sandy is having a strong impact on early voting, looking at the size of the voting population in the affected areas. In Virginia, 21 voter offices were closed Monday, according to a list provided by the State Board of Elections. The affected counties encompass several large metropolitan areas in the northern portion of the state, including both Democrat and Republican friendly areas.

For the Democrats, the normally Dem friendly counties of Arlington and Fairfax, as well as the city of Alexandria closed their offices today. For Republicans, GOP-leaning Loudoun County was also closed.

As of now only one county, Accomack County, has announced that the voter office is going to be closed Tuesday as well. Accomack is located on the Eastern Shore and makes up part of the Delmarva Peninsula.  McCain narrowly carried this county in 2008 with 50.1 percent to Obama’s 48.7 percent, but there were less than 20,000 votes cast there in total.

More closings could be announced as the storm continues to smash into the East Coast.

OHIO


It appears as though Sandy hasn’t affected early voting in Ohio in any noticeable way. The Secretary of State’s office tells ABC News that they haven’t received any reports of issues from any of the 88 counties in the state. Every county in Ohio is required to file emergency plans with the Secretary of State’s office as part of their elections proceedings.

Vote-by-mail appears to be a significantly more popular means of casting an early vote in Ohio. As of the most recent report from the Secretary of State’s office, out of the 800,000 plus votes that have come in so far in Ohio, a little more than 600,000 have come from mail-in absentees, while less than 200,000 have come from in-person voting.

NORTH CAROLINA

The State Board of Elections reports that over the weekend the early voting sites in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks, and Ocracoke Island, which is located in Hyde County, closed on Saturday. Early voting sites in Pamlico County, located along the Atlantic in the middle portion of the state, closed on Sunday. The SBE reports on their website that Dare County early voting sites are closed “until tomorrow” and there is no word yet about when they will reopen. McCain carried Dare and Pamlico counties in 2008, while Obama narrowly carried Hyde County.

Sandy is not expected to affect the big vote centers of Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte and their surrounding counties where forecasts call for a few showers, cloud cover, and wind Monday and Tuesday.

ABC News rates Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire as toss-ups. North Carolina is rated as leaning Republican while Pennsylvania is rated as leaning Democrat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

A Snapshot of Early Voting in Seven Battleground States

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In 2008, about 30 percent of the national vote was cast via early or absentee ballots.  This year, the expectation is that about 40 percent of Americans will cast a vote early, observers said.

“The big picture is [that] early voting is up,” said Michael McDonald, director of the United States Elections Project.  ”More Republicans appear to be voting early [than in 2008], and Democrats are also voting early.”

More than 7.7 million people nationwide have cast a ballot already, McDonald calculated.

There appear to be two reasons for the increase, he said.

First, the Romney campaign is doing a much better job of mobilizing the early vote than the McCain campaign did.  The McCain campaign did very little to mobilize the early vote in 2008 and it was vastly outnumbered by the Obama campaign.

This cycle, the Republican National Committee reports that Republicans are making up a larger share of the early voters than they did last cycle -- and they’ve put a comprehensive program in place with 119,000 volunteers who have made 44.8 million contacts total since the spring.

The other reason for the increase may be that voters find early voting convenient.

Here is a closer snapshot of where things stand in the battleground states where in-person early voting is allowed:

COLORADO
A total of 325,810  votes have been cast so far -- 126,539 from registered Republicans and 120,965 from registered Democrats, plus 75,030 from “unaffiliated” voters.

FLORIDA
So far, 925,604 mail-in absentee ballots have been cast -- 414,016 from Republicans and 363,881 from Democrats.  Early in-person voting has not started yet in Florida.  It kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 27.

IOWA
Voters have cast 399,858 ballots in the state, with 183,780 from Democrats and 126,872 from Republicans.

NEVADA
Democrats boast the advantage over Republicans -- 101,935 to 79,058 -- among the 218,616 votes cast so far statewide.

OHIO
A total of 808,051 ballots have been cast so far, with 618,861 absentee ballots returned and 189,190 additional in-person votes.  Ohio does not register voters by party.

VIRGINIA
Virginia allows for in-person ballot casting ahead of Election Day but state officials call it in-person absentee voting and voters need an excuse to do it.  In any event, 247,862 votes already have been cast.  The state does not register by party, but the Obama campaign reported earlier this week that more ballots have been cast in precincts Obama won than precincts McCain won.

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin is the great unknown.  Every municipality in the state handles its election procedures differently.  There are more local election officials in Wisconsin than in the entire rest of the country combined.  As a result, the state doesn’t report out complete numbers of their early and absentee votes as they come in.  To make matters even more vague, voters don’t register by party in Wisconsin either.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

Obama Votes Early in Chicago

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- After urging his supporters to vote early for weeks, President Obama has cast his own ballot, officially becoming the first sitting president to vote early in person.

The president made a quick stop in his hometown of Chicago Thursday afternoon to visit his local polling site. Obama, visibly exhausted from his dizzying campaign schedule, chatted with election workers as he filled out his paperwork.

One woman joked with him about having to see his identification as the president handed over his driver’s license. The woman examined the ID to determine that it was his, which the president appeared to find quite amusing.

“Now ignore the fact that there’s no gray hair on that picture,” he told her, before noting, “I’m just glad I renewed my driver’s license.”

The president then headed to the electronic voting booth across the room, saying a quick hello to the man in the booth next to him. After several minutes an election official came over and showed him how to submit the ballot electronically.

Afterward, the president made a quick sales pitch for early voting. “I just want everybody to see what an incredibly efficient process this was thanks to the outstanding folks who are at this particular polling place,” he told reporters. “Obviously folks in Illinois can take advantage of this. But all across the country we’re seeing a lot of early voting.”

“It means you don’t have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast a ballot. If something happens on Election Day, you will have already taken care of it. If it’s bad weather you won’t get wet. Or in Chicago, snowy. But this was really convenient,” he said.

“I can’t tell you who I voted for,” he joked. “But I very much appreciate everybody here. It’s good to be home back in the neighborhood.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

Obama Voting Early, But Won't Say for Who

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Seeking to lead by example, President Obama on Wednesday told a crowd of 16,000 in Colorado about his plans to vote early on Thursday, although he would not say who he is supporting.

“It’s a secret ballot,” he joked.  “But Michelle says she voted for me.  That's what she said.”

The president will make a short stop in his hometown of Chicago in between campaign rallies in Richmond, Va., and Cleveland on Thursday to cast his ballot.

“We can vote early in Illinois, just like you can vote early in Colorado,” he told the crowd at City Park on the second stop of his 48-hour marathon campaign swing.

The president has been encouraging his supporters to cast their ballots early for weeks and his advisors claim they have an edge over rival Mitt Romney in early voting.

Earlier Wednesday, Obama adviser David Plouffe told reporters traveling with the president that they are beginning to see the election unfold based on early voting.

“We like what we’re seeing,” he said.  “It’s very encouraging.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Obama Campaign Claims Edge in Early Vote

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(DAYTON, Ohio) -- President Obama’s top campaign advisers Tuesday said early-voting returns in several battleground states show Democrats with an edge over Republicans in courting so-called “sporadic voters,” those Americans who would not otherwise vote and could tilt the scale in a tight race.

“We are outperforming our early-vote margins in key states compared to 2008. We’re ahead of where we were against McCain, and more importantly, we’re ahead of Mitt Romney,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters. “Romney may be winning more raw votes than McCain did at this time, but look, the facts are important here. And the numbers tell a very clear story.”

Messina said that the campaign’s growth in early-vote margins, borne out both in state election data and in public polling of early voters, is a net gain for Democrats since many early voters are people who likely would not have otherwise voted. The process was widely credited with helping Obama win several swing states in 2008.

“Early vote isn’t only taking a finite number of voters and only changing the day they vote. …. What early vote does is help us get out our low propensity voters-voters called sporadic voters-which broadens our universe and frees up more ‘get out the vote’ resources later, especially on election day,” Messina claimed.

“This is about increasing the overall share of people, who may be drop out voters. And our numbers and public numbers are showing that more Obama sporadic voters are voting than Romney sporadic voters, which is a very big piece of business for the total turnout,” he said.

Public polls show Obama holds double-digit leads among people who have already voted in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, states where in-person early voting is allowed. Obama also leads in North Carolina.

The U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University tracks all public early voting data HERE.

The data are not considered definitive indicators of the ultimate electoral outcome in any given state, but do provide a snapshot of voter engagement and the campaigns’ ability to bank votes ahead of time.

“Here is the most important thing to remember 14 days out: We’re tied or ahead in every battleground state, and we’re not leaving any place where we are tied or ahead,” he said. “Romney has not been able to knock us out of a single battleground, and we’ve forced him to spend more and more resources in states like North Carolina that the Romney campaign has said they wanted locked up a long time ago.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct052012

Obama Campaign, Democrats Win in Ohio Early Vote Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- The Obama campaign has won a legal victory in Ohio that, like other recent decisions, should make it easier for voters to cast their ballots.

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the Obama campaign and local Democratic National Committee officials who challenged Ohio’s early in-person voting system.

Friday’s ruling is the latest to favor Democrats in cases challenging voter restrictions in the weeks leading up to the election.

In 2011, the voting deadlines in Ohio were changed to allow only military and overseas voters to participate in early voting three days before the election.

Democrats -- who challenged the change -- argued that a significant number of Ohio voters would be precluded from voting without the additional three days of in-person early voting.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Democrats. The court affirmed a lower court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction against the change in the law.

“While we readily acknowledge the need to provide military voters more time to vote,” the court ruled, “we see no corresponding justification for giving others less time.”

The court said it was returning discretion to local boards of elections to allow all Ohio voters to vote from Saturday, Nov. 3, through Monday, Nov. 5.

The court said, “The state must show that its decision to reduce the early voting time for non-military voters is justified by a ‘sufficiently weighty’ interest. The state has proposed no interest which would justify reducing the opportunity to vote by a considerable segment of the voting population.”

John Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, has argued in part that the reduced voting hours were necessary to address the needs of the Ohio elections board as it prepared for Election Day. The state also claimed that military service members and their families had unique challenges when it came to voting so that in-person early voting should be extended to them, but not to other Ohio voters.

Husted issued a statement Friday: “My office is reviewing today’s decision by the court as we determine the best course of action moving forward. … No action will be taken today or this weekend.”

Husted has the option of appealing the decision to the full panel of judges on the 6th Circuit.

An Obama campaign official, meanwhile, hailed the decision and touted it as the latest in a string of legal victories for the campaign involving voting rights.

“Ohio joins Wisconsin, Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania as states that turned back restrictions on voter access and limitations on voter participation,” Obama for America general counsel Bob Bauer said in a prepared statement. “The appellate court today affirmed the district court’s decision in ‘OFA v. Husted’ and held unanimously that every Ohioan should have equal access to early voting. As a result of this decision, every voter, including military, veterans, and overseas voters alongside all Ohioans, will have the same opportunity to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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