Early voters poised to play pivotal Election Day role — are you one?


by Félix Pérez/photo courtesy of whiteafrican

If the polls are correct, the too-close-to-call presidential election will be decided by which candidate is best able to get his voters to turn out.  Not surprisingly, a record number of voters are expected to take advantage of the convenience of early voting to make sure their voices are heard.

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According to Real Clear Politics, 30 percent of all votes in 2008, or nearly 40 million, were cast before Election Day. That compares with 20 percent in 2004.

With voter registration deadlines fast approaching and numerous recent voting law changes, voters are urged to check with their state. The National Association of Secretaries of State maintains a website, www.canivote.org, with hyperlinks to individual states and information on, among other things, early voting, polling place locations and what kind of ID to bring.

The National Conference on State Legislatures reports that in 32 states and the District of Columbia, any qualified voter may cast a ballot before Election day. Early voting typically ends just a few days before Election Day.

Click on the image above to find out when early voting occurs in your state.

Four states open their early voting this weekend — Idaho and South Dakota on September 21, and Vermont and Virginia, September 22. Voters in Ohio can cast their vote beginning October 2, the day before the first presidential debate.

Among the groups that favor early voting are college students, the elderly and African Americans, many of whom vote after attending church the Sunday before Election Day.

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