NEW YORK — Key swing-states have broken or anticipate breaking early-voting records in the homestretch before election day on Tuesday.
Forty-two percent of registered voters in Nevada have already cast their ballots — that’s more than 628,000 votes — according to figures from the Secretary of State. Spokeswoman Catherine Lu said the state elections office “hasn’t heard about any problems” in any of the counties that tally up early votes.
In Iowa, voters beat their previous record on Thursday. As of Friday morning, 584,000 ballots had been cast compared with a final tally of 545,000 in 2008, according to Secretary of State spokesman Chad Olsen.
“We are very busy,” Olsen said. “We got about 27,000 more yesterday. We’re going to have over 600,000 early votes, and that should put us around 40 percent. It’s a new high-water mark.”
Olsen said the process has been going “very smoothly” in Iowa, in part because of how much attention candidates and campaigns put on the state. Iowa is a swing state, and with its first-in-the-nation caucus, it plays a high-profile role throughout the election. He calls it “astounding” and good for voter engagement that the Obama campaign has more than 60 campaign offices in a state with 3 million people.
Iowa also introduced a pop-up voting option, which means a petition with at least 100 signatures enables a temporary voting location to spring up just about anywhere.
“We’ve had early voting locations in Mexican grocery stores and at churches,” Olsen said. “Not at the college bars yet but we have had some candidates who come in and do big rallies on campus and it just happens to be on the same day that there’s an early voting place two blocks away.”
As of Oct. 26, the most recent date for which data is available, Ohio had already received 1.2 million absentee votes. For the first time ever, officials automatically sent an absentee ballot application to every Ohio voter. The move was one of a few steps Ohio took to try to make a more uniform voting process statewide.
“Going well in the Buckeye state,” said Secretary of State spokesman Matt McClellan. “You could probably find little issues here and there but overall things are going well.”
Wisconsin reported “robust” early turn-out, with the number of early voters nearly doubling since last week. In Colorado, where “no-excuse mail balloting” is available to all voters, about 70 percent of the population votes by mail. So far the state has received 1.5 million ballots out of an expected 2.6 million.
“We’ve actually gotten very good at this,” said Colorado Secretary of State spokesman Rich Coolidge. “We’re at 1.5 million votes cast. We’re expecting probably 2.5 to 2.7 million votes. Colorado traditionally has long ballots. It’s been good for voters to be able to sit down and really go through them. If you have long ballots and you’re voting on a machine, and you take 10 minutes per voter, that machine can only handle six voters per hour. You’ve gotta have a lot of machines available. This has really relieved the pressure of getting everyone in on election day. Now you have ‘election three-weeks’ instead of ‘election day.’”