Forget Election Day -- voting is already happening

Increasingly, more and more states are moving toward some form of early voting. Photo by Flickr user Erik Hersman

Today in the Morning Line:

  • 43 states have some form of early voting
  • What mail ballots could say about the N.C. Senate race
  • About one-in-five expected to vote early
  • More fundraising for President Obama

Early voting underway: With less than a month to go until Election Day, we, at Morning Line, starting with yesterday's look at ad spending, will be focusing on the nuts and bolts of the campaign and what matters in the midterms. We'll leave Ebola and wars for others to analyze for now. This morning's midterm look is at early voting. Increasingly, more and more states are moving toward some form of early voting. In all, 43 states have some form of early voting, and Connecticut, one of the seven states that still does not allow it, has an initiative on the ballot this year to change that. As of today, early in-person voting is already underway in 10 states, including Iowa with its all-important Senate race, which began last week, Sept. 25. Two more states begin voting today — Ohio and Indiana. Arizona — with its key House races — and Georgia — with its closely watched Senate race — will begin voting within the next week.

Democrats doing better than 2010 in N.C. mail ballots: Absentee ballots have gone out already in 43 states, including in North Carolina, where mail-in votes and requests are being closely watched for what they'll mean for the U.S. Senate race. Professor Michael Bitzer of Catawba College, who runs the Old North State Politics blog about North Carolina, analyzed the data and found: "Requests from registered Democrats make up 41 percent of the 24,765, with registered Republicans at 35 percent and registered unaffiliated voters at 24 percent. At this point in 2010, Republicans were 47 percent, Democrats were 34 percent, and unaffiliated voters were 20 percent."

Early voter turnout expected to be about 20 percent: Though more states are turning to early voting as a way to alleviate poll-line backups, there have also been states that have tightened early voting times. Turnout expert Michael McDonald told NewsHour's Andrew Troast that about 20 percent of 2014 midterm voters will likely vote early, lower than the 30 percent that voted that way in the 2012 presidential election. (Check the NewsHour website for more on early voting from Andrew later today.)

Early in-person voting schedule:
Sept. 20: New Jersey (some counties), South Carolina, and Vermont.
Sept. 25: Iowa and Wyoming
Oct. 3: Maine
Oct. 4: Nebraska
Oct. 6: California
Oct. 7: Indiana and Ohio
Oct. 9: Arizona
Oct. 13: Georgia
Oct. 15: Tennessee and Kansas
Oct. 17: Kentucky
Oct. 18: Nevada and New Mexico
Oct. 20: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin
Oct. 21: Louisiana and Utah
Oct. 22: West Virginia
Oct. 23: Maryland and North Carolina
Oct. 25: Florida
Oct. 30: Oklahoma

The president's day: We noted on Monday that Democrats were outspending Republicans in their "firewall" states and that was partially because of the money President Obama has been able to raise for them. Tuesday afternoon, the president is on the money trail again, attending two separate Democratic National Committee fundraisers in New York. At 6:35 p.m. ET, the president will attend a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraising event in Greenwich, Conn.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1993, President Clinton sent more troops, heavy armor, and naval firepower to Somalia. What was the military intervention in response to? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you'll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Yvonne Gibney (‏@Lillyvonne228) for guessing Monday's trivia: When is the last time the pope visited the White House? The answer was: in 2008, Pope Benedict XIV visited President George W. Bush.

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