Campaigns court early voters; Will it matter?
(CBS News) Election Day is seven weeks away, but before Nov. 6, around 44 million people are likely to have already cast their votes.
Early voting, which starts in South Dakota and Idaho today, has grown more common with each presidential election over the last 12 years. It's a shift that makes voting more convenient, accessible and gives early indicators as to which side has an edge when it comes to enthusiasm and turnout efforts. Early voting only boosts overall voter turnout marginally, but in states like Ohio and Florida -- where lawsuits over early voting are pending -- a marginal boost in turnout could make all the difference.
In-person early voting opens today in South Dakota and in some counties in Idaho, though ballots are already coming in from a handful of other states: Kentucky, Indiana and the battleground states of North Carolina and Wisconsin.
In those four states, voters can already submit absentee or mail-in ballots. However, for a more accurate understanding of when the campaigns can drive voters to the ballot box en masse, CBS News considers early voting to start when a state has opened drop-off centers for ballots or in-person voting sites.
Since 2002, after the passage of the Help America Vote Act, many states adopted rules allowing large numbers of people to vote before Election Day. Currently, 34 states (including 10 battleground states) plus the District of Columbia offer early voting.
According to Paul Gronke, director of the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College in Portland, Ore., "People who vote early are people who've made their minds up."
- no previous page
Popular in Politics
- Obama forgets to salute while boarding Marine One Play Video
- IRS' Lerner was asked to resign, refused: GOP Sen. 183 Comments
- Obama prom pictures surface 131 Comments
- GOP Rep.: Obama elected because of Reagan's immigration reforms
- Petraeus biographer regrets affair
- Pelosi ties bridge collapse to sequester
- Is President Obama ending the war on terror? 290 Comments
- Palin Image: Confident, Secure Play Video