Early voting begins in Ohio, 33 days out

Ohio voters are getting the opportunity to vote early in this year’s Presidential Election. We’re still 36 days out yet some people are casting their votes today, right now, as we type.

The report from MyWay:

CLEVELAND (AP) – In the state that may again determine the presidency, voters started casting ballots Tuesday as Barack Obama struggles to thwart a John McCain victory in Ohio four years after it tipped the election to President Bush.

Both candidates visit often while spending millions of dollars flooding TV and radio with advertisements, mailboxes with literature and even voicemail with automated phone calls to get supporters to the polls, particularly during the one-week window in which people can register and vote in one swoop.

Early participation appeared light; officials in the state’s largest counties that are home to Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Dayton each reported several hundred ballots cast by afternoon. Many of those who voted cited convenience.

“I wanted to avoid the traffic and the people,” said Charlene Glass, 49, of Cleveland Heights. A first-time voter, she backed Obama and expressed her enthusiasm for a black candidate. In Dayton, Terri Bell, 49, chose McCain because of his experience and his military service. “I have a lot on my plate. I wanted to do this early,” she said.

At stake: 20 electoral votes – perhaps, the presidency itself.

Most recent state polls show a dead heat; others give McCain an edge. National surveys show Obama slightly ahead if not more. The disparity underscores the difficulty Obama is having in closing the deal in this pivotal state. He’s a first-term senator from Chicago with a liberal voting record and would be the country’s first black president.

In all, 270 electoral votes are needed for victory.

Ohio is crucial to McCain’s electoral strategy. Bush narrowly won the state, and a loss for McCain here would be very difficult to make up with victories elsewhere given that the political landscape favors Democrats and several other key states are tilting toward Obama.

A video report from the Associated Press:

Not sure how I feel on this one. A lot can happen between now and election day, however, that doesn’t mean all these people were going to change their vote. The only thing I do worry about in any situation is, of course, voter fraud.

We’ll see though since unless Ohio is very close, this early voting won’t be an issue.