Early vote was once an idea that both parties promoted. But as Democrats grow in their ability to use it to their strategic advantage, Republicans have sought to reduce or eliminate it.
In North Carolina, the Romney/Ryan campaign has pulled their staff out of the state. They are dispatching them to other swing states realizing that if the election is close, it is almost impossible for North Carolina to be the state that determines the outcome.
But early vote adds to the risk for the Romney/Ryan ticket in these risk versus reward decisions. Just as the GOP staff is abandoning the state for more pressing campaign needs long lines of voters are showing up for early vote.
Yesterday, on the first day of early voting in North Carolina, 150,000 voters went to the polls.
Only the Obama campaign will have a massive voter turnout effort in the state. It could cost the GOP a consolation prize in the face of an Obama reelection.
Early vote gave Obama such a big lead in Iowa going into Election Day four years ago that Obama had fewer votes cast on that first Tuesday in November than John McCain but won the state easily.
To answer the question why Republicans want to curb early vote then look no further than what is happening in Iowa today. There has been a surge in early voting this year. And, according to polling by Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, nearly one third of Iowa likely voters have already cast a ballot and those ballots favor Obama by a two to one margin.
It is hard to overcome a 67 to 32 deficit in the first third of all votes.
In Ohio, however, the Republicans want it both ways. They wanted to maintain a suburban quality of life element to early voting while blocking early vote in the heavily populated, heavily working class, higher minority Democratic counties and communities.
Even the Republican dominated U.S. Supreme Court said that everyone in Ohio should have access to early vote equally. But Republicans are still trying to use access to the ballot to their advantage.
Not that it is surprising. It is a standard Republican tactic.
Democrats work to register voters and get them to the poll while Republicans try to throw voters off the rolls and block their ability to cast a vote.
Neighboring Pennsylvania was once considered to be a swing state. Republicans are still hoping to confuse voters into believing they must bring an ID to vote and close a large gap between Obama and Romney.
Just as in Ohio, the courts stopped the Republican Party from using ballot access as a political weapon. The Republican effort to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands, including roughly one in four voters in the City of Philadelphia, was blocked by the courts.
In Florida, Texas, South Carolina and numerous other states Republicans are working to make it harder for people to vote rather than working on policies that will get people to vote for them.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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