Early voting opens in Florida, Obama enjoying slim advantage


Early voters wait at a polling station at Miami City Hall on October 27, 2012 in Florida. Early voting in one of the important swing states is held for eight straight 12-hour days leading up to the November 6 general election.


Joe Raedle

President Barack Obama enjoys an early lead – according to numbers from Reuters and Ipsos – among early voters as polls opened today in Florida.

The news agency predicts early voting could account for 40 percent of ballots cast in the 2012 presidential election.

Election Day is November 6, but early voting is available in almost all states now.

“In some of the battleground states, rates are even above that (40 percent),” political science professor Michael McDonald told Reuters.

“There’s a lot of activity out there with both the Romney and the Obama campaigns organizing and mobilizing their supporters to vote early.”

McDonald, a professor at Virginia’s George Mason University, complies early voting data at the US Election Project.

He said on his blog Friday that more than 10 million people have already cast ballots, setting a pace that could outstrip the 41 million voters from the last election.

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McDonald sees an early, slight advantage for Obama in Iowa and Nevada, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney leads in North Carolina.

The key state of Florida opened its polls today, and “thousands” are taking advantage, Central Florida 13 News reported.

However, some are worried about a shorter window and longer ballot compromising voting there, the Orlando Sentinel said.

Floridians have just eight days this year to cast ballots, down from 14 in the last presidential vote.

The Republican-dominated state legislature made the change, and the Florida Civil Liberties Union chastised the move as an attempt to limit minority voting.

“No matter how hard they try to stop African American and Hispanic voters, we will fight back against these restrictions, and we will show up at the polls in droves and vote,” FCLU president J. Willie David III told the Sentinel.

Obama won Florida four years ago, and early voting played a significant role in the victory.

Romney can brag about taking more of the early vote than John McCain did in Florida four years ago, The Daily Mail said.

However, Obama is matching the support he garnered there in 2008, the newspaper reported.

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