Election day is officially a month away but with early voting under way, election day may not be determinative in establishing which candidate takes the Oval Office. In Ohio, one of the battleground states, the polls opened for early voting a week ago, while WANE reminded viewers Indiana will begin its process today. Idaho and South Dakota kicked off 2012's early voting, opening their polls on Sept. 21, the Associated Press noted. Altogether 32 states permit unrestricted early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures which published a graphic showing which states allow early voting and under what conditions.
The influence of early voting may be critical in the current election, where Republican candidate Mitt Romney has been viewed as lagging but gaining momentum since last week's debate.
* Politico analysts predict Romney's perceived debate win will only be translated into votes if it's shored up with follow-up successes. A stellar second debate, a victorious showing at the vice presidential debate by running-mate Paul Ryan, a change in ad strategy, an empathetic transformation -- these are the necessities Politico cites and they can only be accomplished with time.
* As Romney pedals faster, more and more voters will be out of the pool he can influence. National Review noted last week early voting is on an upswing with more than 40 percent of all voters expected to cast their ballot before election day in 2012. About 85 percent of voters theoretically could vote early under existing law, National Review said.
* The list of states permitting early voting includes swing states, where the election will be decided. These include Virginia, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina, National Review said. Its national affairs columnist John Fund pointed out early voting began in some states before the first presidential debate. Changes late in the electoral cycle won't affect the votes cast by early voters, he noted.
* In Iowa, election officials have received 274,000 absentee ballot requests already; the number of ballots requested in Ohio exceeded 601,000 as of Sept. 27; and the Chicago Tribune said 71,347 ballots have been requested so far in Wisconsin, where early voting doesn't start until Oct. 22.