Home Politics Early Voting to Play Major Role in Ohio Elections

Early Voting to Play Major Role in Ohio Elections

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With a single sentence, the Supreme Court killed the most recent request from Ohio officials to close polls on the weekend before Election Day.

Though the dispute over the extra three days has been back and forth,  the court’s brief refusal to rule on the issue last Tuesday may end up giving Democrats an advantage leaders of the Republican-led initiative have feared.

The hotly debated legislation would have barred everyone except active military members from voting early during the weekend before Election Day. The order that ultimately put the early voting question to rest was well received by the president, whose battle to restore early voting rights began with a lawsuit filed by his campaign against Ohio in July.

Although statistics show that early voting stands to serve elderly and minority voters the most, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) championed the appeals court decision as a win for all working men and women as well earlier this month. Echoing the president’s satisfaction, Sen. Brown stated in a press release:

“Today’s federal appeals court decision restoring full, early voting rights is a decisive victory for all Ohioans – and our democracy. For people who labor by the hour, college students who work the third shift, parents who have to drop their children off at school, and many others, early voting ensures that their voices will be heard.”

With its continuation assured, the Romney-Ryan ticket has been embracing early voting, urging their base to use the extra time. However,the Republicans must recognize the significant boost early voting gave their opponent in the last election.

In 2008, Obama beat Republican Sen. John McCain with a lot of help from 100,000 Ohioans who cast their vote for the president the weekend before Election Day.

In 2012, with Romney proving to be a far more worthy adversary, early votes may prove to be a much larger asset to secure a second Obama term.

The Democrats appear to have already begun reaping the benefits of early voting in Ohio. While traditional polls show Obama at 47 percent, a specific poll for those who have already voted has Obama at an early 13 percentage point lead.

Playing down his favorable early numbers, Republicans look for a stronger Election Day turn out to negate Obama’s head start.

Also, due to Ohio’s strange system of assigning party affiliation based off of primary voting history instead of a declaration, the methods used to gage the state’s early voting tendencies leave plenty of room for error.

For the definitive answer as to just how large an impact early voting has in swinging Ohio one way or the other, everyone must wait till Election Day, Nov. 6, when early ballots will be opened and counted.

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