This week, Obama supporters may have noticed a few additional e-mails in their inbox from the president. On Thursday, he announced his plans to travel to Chicago to cast his ballot. By the end of the day, the president accomplished his goal:
“This afternoon, I voted in my hometown of Chicago. I’m told I am the first sitting president to take advantage of early voting.”
Obama indents to lead by example and encourage everyone to get to the polls early. Earlier this month, the president filed suit against the state of Ohio, which had planned to shut down early voting stations three days prior to Election Day. In an important victory for Obama, the Supreme Court ruled that polls should be opened to all voters up to November 6.
Early voting has been a big issue this election season, as parties try to use it as a ploy to secure certain key states. The debates surrounding early voting initiate conversations about whether or not all eligible voters have adequate access to ballot boxes.
In getting voters to the polls early, candidates can guarantee votes and try to secure support long before Election Day, avoiding polling backlash from any last minute gaffes on the campaign trail. The presidential and vice presidential candidates have been pushing hard for the early vote, especially in toss-up states like Ohio and Florida.
Early voting has already begun in many states, and it seems that voters are taking full advantage of the systems in their respective counties. Some polling locations have been overwhelmed by the early voter turn out.
Early voting begins today in Florida, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney is touring the state to encourage voters. This election cycle, the early voting period in Florida will only be eight days, rather than the usual fourteen, which increases the candidates’ urgency to reach out to voters there.
In 2008, 39.7 million (30%) of all ballots were submitted in the early voting period and this year could see even higher numbers. This morning Reuters reported that “early voters could account for up to 40% of all ballots cast” this election, with Obama seemingly benefiting. With only 10 days left in this extremely tight race, it will be imperative for both candidates to secure advantages as early as possible.