Folks have been talking for weeks about the effect early voting will have on the results in the battleground state of Ohio. Everyone thought that Obama had a distinct advantage, but soon the Romney camp was reporting that they had better returns coming out of exit polls. The latest polls in Ohio show that Obama currently maintains a slim lead over Romney.
Canvassing in rural Ohio (Lancaster, represent!), I’d estimate that 50% of folks who are home have already voted, either early voting or absentee. One door I almost knocked on today had a sign posted saying that they had already voted, so please stop canvassing them. (Another symptom of voter fatigue?)
Some hardcore folks find going to the polls on election day to be the ultimate voting experience. But in a high turnout state like Ohio, where the lines for early voting can total 1,000 people, some voters get turned away (against the law, by the way) or are deterred from voting. On Sunday morning, after Republican Governor Rick Scott in Florida refused to extend early voting hours even though the voters reported waiting as long as eight to nine hours, an emergency lawsuit was filed by Florida Democrats.
Voters who want to avoid the polls altogether can opt to vote absentee. Absentee voters in Ohio must have their ballots post-marked by Monday. If you signed up to vote absentee and didn’t send in your ballot, your vote at the polls will only be counted provisionally. Some folks are predicting a 2000-esque situation, where Ohio’s ballot counting issues delay the announcement of our next president for weeks.
On Sunday, I worked a rally at a local middle school featuring Vice President Joe Biden and Grammy award winner Jason Mraz. As always, logistics turned out to be a nightmare. The overflow room was filled with folks crying because they couldn’t get in to the main hall. My bawdy, self-proclaimed “hillbilly” fellow campaign volunteer Pam turned to me and said, “It’s a good thing all these pissed people voted early.”
I guess so.
For real-time results of the presidential election from Ohio, see here.