Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Let the Voting Begin!

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the majority of the American electorate has already made up their minds with regards to who they will be voting for this November.  However, what many may not know is that a handful of these “decideds” have already cast their ballots, as well.

Although Election Day is still 42 days out, several states have started to open up their early voting programs to voters.  Last week, South Dakota, Idaho, Vermont and Maine all opened up their early voting polls, while Iowa and Wyoming are scheduled to do so later this week.  In all, 32 states and Washington, D.C. have the early voting option.

With a record 30% of the American electorate choosing to cast their ballot early in 2008, and even higher percentages in the swing-states of Florida, Nevada and Colorado, the influx of early ballots in the coming weeks could have a substantial influence on the polling results we are currently seeing.

As the majority of this year’s key swing states are opening their voting polls for early voting, it will be interesting to see what affect, if any, the early results have on the actual election day results.  There is some concern that a perceived lead by one candidate in the early voting results could deter potential voters from entering casting their ballot in general.

However, on the other side of this argument is the idea that early voting will actually increase voter turnout because it gives members of the electorate a better chance to work voting around their busy schedule.

With both of this year’s candidates relying heavily on voter turnout in the swing states in order to secure their victory, the implications of early voting could get rather interesting.

It’s too early to tell now, but stay tuned as more and more states open up their early voting booths in the coming weeks to see what role this will play in the election.

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