When South Carolina voters cast their ballots in the Republican presidential primary Saturday, they’ll have company. That same day, Florida Republicans can begin in-person voting for the state’s Jan. 31 primary, joining more than 100,000 state residents who already have cast absentee ballots. As the votes are counted in Florida on Jan. 31, voters in Ohio and other states with primaries on March 6 — Super Tuesday because of its 10 GOP primaries and caucuses — will begin absentee voting. That week, voters can vote early in Arizona for its Feb. 28 primary. Later in February, polls will open for early voting in the March 6 Georgia and Tennessee primaries.
The rush to vote ahead of time helps the most sophisticated campaigns, those with enough manpower, money and momentum to plan ahead. In 2008, Barack Obama won the battle for early votes. In this year’s primaries, experts on early voting say, Mitt Romney stands out.
“It generally benefits the better organized candidates with more money, because it’s costly to do this,” says Paul Gronke, a political science professor at Reed College in Oregon who runs the Early Voting Information Center. That is because targeting voters isn’t cheap. It requires processing several layers of voter information from state and county elections officials to determine who votes absentee, who votes early, and whether they have already voted.
Romney’s campaign won’t talk about its strategy when it comes to early voters — an indication it doesn’t want its competitors to catch on.
But some already have: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who trails the pack, is among those sending recorded messages to Floridians who were among more than 400,000 to request absentee ballots. That’s more than the number who voted in New Hampshire and Iowa combined.
Full Article: More voters casting ballots early – USATODAY.com.