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Early voting has begun in Ohio, Nebraska, Georgia, South Dakota, Iowa, Vermont and Wyoming. This year Organizing for America (OFA) has been working hard to get infrequent or first-time voters to vote early. This allows campaigns to bank votes early and concentrate on the undecided voters.  In Ohio and Iowa, the results have been promising so far.

Iowa:

As of 10/1/2010, the Democrats have been requesting absentee ballots and returning them at Requests according to the Iowa SOS.


PartyBallots RequestedBallots Returned
Democrats 70,992 15,556
Republicans 24,736 7,636
No Party 20,830 3,608
Other 72 13
Total 116,630 26,813

Turnout has been especially strong in Johnson County where University of Iowa is located due in part to the 21-only ballot question. The question is trying to overturn the recent 21-only ordinance which made the minimum age of patrons in bars after 10 p.m. from 19 to 21.

After one week of early voting, Johnson County is on track for a higher early turnout than the midterm election four years ago, according to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.

More than 6,400 absentee ballots have been requested for the Nov. 2 general election, which is about 1,000 more than were requested in 2006 by this time.

A total of 1,319 votes were cast at a satellite location at Burge Residence Hall on Tuesday. That is the most votes ever cast at a satellite location in Johnson County, Slockett said.

Other good news in Johnson County:

I think it’s clear that students are driving the early, in-person voting here in Johnson County," said county Auditor Tom Slockett.

Any Iowa City voter could have cast a ballot at Burge on Tuesday, so it’s not as if every vote came from a student. But Slockett said Wednesday the majority of all those who have voted so far in this year’s election have been of the student-age population. (There were 340 voters at the UI’s Phillips Hall on Monday.)

Early voting will continue up until Election Day, Nov. 2. Most of the satellite sites are on or near the UI campus due to a record number of student-driven petitions to place satellite voting locations on campus.

Getting U of I students to vote is incredibly important to keeping progressive Rep. David Loebsack (D-Inc.) in office. He voted for the stimulus bill, health care reform, financial reform, repeal of DADT and the House energy bill (ACES) and he did not sign the letter to Pelosi asking her to extend tax cuts for the wealthy.

Strong turnout in the 2nd district will also help Governor Chet Culver's re-election bid and Roxanne Conlin's bid for Grassley's Senate seat.

Information on early voting:
Request an absentee ballot.
Find your early voting location.

Volunteer to help with GOTV in Iowa:
Iowa State Democratic Party
Organizing for America

Ohio:

There has been good news in Ohio early voting as well.

Democrats were outpacing the Republicans 3-1 on the first day of voting in Hamilton County. Some Democrats were so excited vote early, they camped out overnight at their polling station.

Jessie Sears  of Avondale was one of about 30 people – nearly all Democrats and members of the NAACP – who camped out overnight on Broadway downtown to be there when the Hamilton County Board of Elections began its in-person early-voting at 8 a.m.

Fred Wideman of North Avondale. Wideman did not sleep over, but came about 7 a.m. to wait in line to cast his ballot.

"I’m here to prove the polls wrong when they say that certain people won’t show up," said Wideman. The 69-year-old said he was referring to African-American voters, of which he is one. "I can’t speak for everybody, but, for my part, I’ll going to make a statement," Wideman said.

Hamilton County is part of Congressional Districts 1 and 2. In Congressional District 1, Democratic Incumbent Steve Driehaus is running in a tight race for re-election. He voted for the stimulus bill, health care reform, financial reform, repeal of DADT and the House energy bill (ACES) and he did not sign the letter to Pelosi asking her to extend tax cuts for the wealthy.

In Congressional District 2, Surya Yalamanchili is trying to unseat Mean Jean Schmidt.

The Ohio Democratic Coordinated Campaign is happy with the numbers they are seeing so far:

More Democrats than Republicans are requesting ballots.

A tabulation of all 88 counties shows that nearly 20 percent more Democrats than Republicans have requested ballots.

Democratic ballot requests outnumber Republican ballot requests statewide by margins in the tens of thousands.

Infrequent voting Democrats – whose turnout is key to our victory – are requesting ballots in higher numbers than infrequent voting Republicans.

Given what we know about the unaffiliated voters who have requested ballots, we are confident that they, too, lean toward Democrats.

In addition to these congressional races, Governor Ted Strickland is running for re-election. The latest polls have Strickland in a tight race with John Kasich. And Lt. Governor Lee Fisher is struggling against Republican challenger Rob Portman and could really use your help.

Volunteer to help with GOTV:
Ohio State Democratic Party
Organizing for America

President Obama's team is concentrating on early voting as well:

The Democratic strategy is being amplified by Obama, whose travel schedule over the next three weeks closely tracks the dates when early voting begins.

In Ohio, Obama is set to arrive next month for an early-voting rally on the campus of the Ohio State University, where he will encourage students to cast their early ballots for Democrats. Party officials here hope the effort is something of a second act for the 2008 campaign, when early voting helped give several candidates an edge.

Originally posted to askew on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 01:16 PM PDT.

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