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Inside the early vote numbers: Protecting the vote in Ohio

Campaigning in Ohio

Today would be the last day of early voting in Ohio, if not for our supporters' efforts to expand voting access for working people across the state. But thanks to them, Ohio voters still have four more days to vote early.

We’re better off as a country when more citizens can make their voices heard at the polls. That’s why our campaign worked tirelessly to expand the electorate in 2012—registering nearly twice as many voters this year as we did in 2008—and it’s why we’ve made sure every American can exercise their right without interference or intimidation. We’ve built a voter protection program that’s second to none, focused on voter education, expanding voter access, and promoting early vote.

We fought back when Republicans tried to limit the days and times you can vote. OFA-Ohio ran a campaign in 2011 to protect early voting when the Republican governor and state legislature tried to shorten it. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now every Ohioan can vote this weekend and Monday before the election. We were able to take up and win this long fight to ensure open voting for all Ohioans—including our military personnel, veterans, and overseas voters—because our grassroots organization never left Ohio after the 2008 election. We’ve been organizing in Ohio communities for years, and today we’re seeing the results as more voters make their voices heard.

You might wonder why Republicans would try to keep voters from voting. The simple answer is they know what we do: When the American people get a fair chance to make the clear choice on their ballot, they’re going to re-elect President Obama. Here’s what they were trying to stop in Ohio:

  • In 2008, nearly 100,000 Ohio voters cast their ballots during the final weekend of early voting—the same weekend we successfully fought to keep voting open this year.

  • So far, 1.3 million Ohio voters have voted in this election—nearly 200,000 more than at this time four years ago.

  • According to some public polls, among those who have voted, Obama supporters outpace Romney supporters nearly two-to-one. In every single one of the last eight public polls in Ohio, Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by double digits among Ohioans who have already voted.

When we dig a little deeper, this is what we find:

  • Ohioans who live in counties that Obama won in 2008 have already cast 866,798 ballots, compared with just 448,635 votes cast from Republican counties.

  • The participation rate is also much higher in Obama counties. In counties that supported the President in 2008, 17.5% of registered voters have already voted this year, compared with just 14.6% of registered voters in Republican-leaning counties.

  • Democrats are doing a better job than Republicans at turning out new registrants, Ohioans who voted in 2008 for the first time, and other sporadic voters.

With four days of early vote to go, about 24% of projected Ohio votes have already been cast. That means Mitt Romney needs to win at least 53% of the remaining votes to catch up—and our advantage is growing every day.

The more people who vote in Ohio, the better President Obama’s chances of winning there are. If President Obama wins the Buckeye State, the better his chances of winning the White House again are. And if President Obama wins the White House, everyone will have a better chance of living in an economy where their hard work pays off and their responsibility is rewarded. We never forget why we’re doing this.

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