Early voting in a number of key states has been going Barack Obama's way according to the numbers. In the battlegrounds of Ohio, New Mexico and Nevada, Democratic early voters are far outpacing Republicans. Early voting is expected to have a greater impact in 2008 than ever before. Experts predict more than a third of the electorate will cast a vote before Election Day.

Republican Phillip Stutts has pointed to early voting as perhaps the determining factor this election year. Stutts was the nationwide director of the RNC’s 72-hour plan in 2004. Then, he says, the Bush campaign had an early voting plan for every single state—the strategy was to get reliable Republican votes in before Election Day.

 

Four years ago, it was the GOP that claimed the edge on early voting. But it wasn’t as large a factor given the numbers. Some 20 percent of voters cast a ballot before Election Day in 2004.

 

In battleground states like Florida and Ohio, as many as 40 percent of the entire vote is expected to already be cast by Nov. 4.

 

USA Today has a great breakdown of the early voting count as of Tuesday. In Ohio, two key counties are seeing registered Democrats significantly outpace registered Republicans in casting early ballots.

 

In Iowa, 100,000 Democrats have voted early so far, compared to just over 50,000 Republicans. In North Carolina the early vote count is nearing half a million and Democratic registrants outnumber Republicans more than 2 to 1.

 

Democrats hold a similar advantage in New Mexico, and in Georgia early voting has driven African American voters to the polls—nearly 40 percent of early voters there are black.

 

The early voting numbers aren’t all bad for Republicans though. In Colorado, GOP voters are actually outpacing Democrats. Some 81,000 Republicans have cast an early vote, compared to 76,000 Democrats.


Shane D'Aprile is web editor at Politics magazine. sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com