Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Ohio Adopts Early Voting: Potential HUGE Boon to Obama

Some very important news in the world of election law: Ohio has adopted early voting, allowing a window from September 30th to October 6th for voters to register and submit their votes in a one-stop:

Ohio has created a window in the election calendar that would allow residents instant gratification — register one minute, vote the next. It’s also given the campaigns of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain a chance to bank thousands of first-time voters during that Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 window.

The move will benefit Obama, who enjoys a 2-to-1 lead over McCain among 18- to 34-year-olds, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last month. If Obama’s campaign were able to tap into college campuses with one-stop voting, it would add thousands of votes to his tally in a state where, in 2004, John Kerry lost to President Bush by only about 118,000 votes, putting Bush over the top in the electoral count. (emphasis mine)

Indeed, this could be a huge boon to Obama, who will likely bank most of that week in the state, holding large rallies and encouraging voters to register and vote right there and then. This window was apparently accidentally created (not sure how that happens) in 2006, and has received little notice until now…when team Obama is building plans to exploit it.

As you might expect, the GOP won’t allow this to happen without a fight:

In Ohio, Republicans are clearly not pleased with same-day registration and voting and have not ruled out a lawsuit against Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s office.

“You have to wonder, when they look at what they consider a loophole with such excitement,” said Jason Mauk, the Ohio Republican Party’s executive director. “That would suggest manipulating the process, and I think opens the door to suspicion.”

Really? You have to wonder that? Because I think you have to wonder why the first time the GOP is considering fighting back against this move comes now in 2006 when the window was created, but in 2008 when the Dems have a nominee who knows how to mobilize and activate segments of the population who are less reliable at voting regularly.

“This is one of many ways we’ll be encouraging our supporters to skip the lines on Election Day and make sure their vote is cast early,” said Isaac Baker, an Obama spokesman.

The move is likely to bring Obama to Ohio for nonstop campaigning that week. Also, television ads are expected to be in heavy play as both campaigns try to take advantage of the electoral oddity. And the early push could help neutralize any last-minute attacks by one campaign on the other.

Outside, independent groups also are looking at spending a lot of time on campuses that week. Organized labor and liberal activist groups see a chance to build their numbers.

Expect there to be a flurry of law-suits and legislation around this issue, but if the law holds and the early-voting window is allowed to stand, this could be a big deal for Barack Obama in the state. It can allow him to target the least reliable voting segments (youth vote, urban poor, etc) and try to rack up some numbers in that early week, before expanding his efforts on Election Day.

This is one worth watching, but could be a big, big deal.

August 13, 2008 - Posted by | Battleground States, Uncategorized | ,

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