Washington Daybook: Voting Early More Often

Photograph by Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Oliver Solomon, of Davenport, Iowa, helps his wife LaDonna with her ballot during early voting for the Nov. 6th election, on Oct. 24, 2012, in Iowa.

The early vote may just catch the White House.

President Barack Obama will cast his ballot in Chicago today, 12 days before Election Day, to emphasize participation in early voting programs that are helping boost his re-election chances in Ohio and elsewhere.

An Associated Press poll out today finds the race in a virtual dead heat nationwide, with Mitt Romney leading Obama 47 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, within the survey’s error margin.

In the key swing state of Ohio, which both candidates will visit today, Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 44 percent, counting both Ohioans who plan to vote on Nov. 6 and those who have already cast their ballot, according to a Time magazine poll out yesterday. The candidates each have 45 percent support among Ohioans who have not yet voted but intend to, while Obama doubled up Romney among respondents who said they already voted.

Across the U.S., early voting is on the rise. More than 30 states now allow ballots to be cast during specified periods before Election Day to encourage participation. So far this year, more than 6.6 million ballots have already been cast.

Republicans are making sure they don’t miss out. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus attends three early voting rallies in Arlington, Sterling and Leesburg, Virginia today. Obama and Romney also make campaign appearances in the state.

Also today, the Campaign to Fix the Debt holds a conference call to urge policymakers to forge a comprehensive, bipartisan deal, with David Cote, CEO of Honeywell; George Paz, CEO of Express Scripts; and Paul Stebbins, chairman of World Fuel Services Corp. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds a conference on health reform in the private sector, with Aetna and UnitedHealth executives. And a U.S. International Trade Commission judge issues his findings in a patent-infringement complaint Cypress Semiconductor filed against rival GSI Technology Inc.

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