Presidential Elections – Swing States and Get Out and Vote

On Monday, the eve of the Presidential Elections, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each visited multiple states, known as battleground or swing states, in hopes of securing the support from undecided voters or where polls suggested their leads were slim. Obama campaigned in Wisconsin and Iowa, Romney visited Florida, Virginia and New Hampshire and both candidates went to Ohio.

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According to The New York Times, this election’s undecided or swing states are Wisconsin, Iowa Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire and Florida. (You can visit the Times’ neat, interactive electoral map to observe different outcomes depending on swing state results.)

Ohio is a particularly interesting state because no Republican has ever been elected President without securing the state; furthermore, every elected President (Democrat or Republican) since John F. Kennedy won Ohio. Since the race between Romney and Obama is so close in Ohio, those who vote for some of the other candidates on the state’s ballot (Jill Stein of the Green Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Stewart Alexander of the Socialist Party or independent Richard Duncan) could truly make a difference. “If Obama and Romney are tied, as some recent polls have shown, even 1% of votes cast in this battleground state for a third candidate could mean the difference in winning Ohio,” reported The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jane Prendergast .

In a Bradenton Herald article, Maria Recio states that votes for third party candidates will also possibly make a difference in other swing states. For example, one poll revealed that 4% of Colorado voters were supporting Johnson (Recio attributes this to his initiative to possibly legalize marijuana) which could affect votes otherwise cast for Obama.

A professor in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Dr. Eric Heberlig, says that the activity of early voters may also have an impact on the electoral results. In an article written by Sandi Huddleston-Edwards for The Herald Weekly, Dr. Heberlig is quoted as saying, “In 2008, the Obama campaign made early voting and same-day registration a core part of its strategy to get irregular voters to the polls. Obama actually got fewer votes than McCain on Election Day, but still won North Carolina because he was so far ahead in early votes.”

Reuters reported Monday evening that nearly 40% of Florida’s registered voters cast their ballots before official Election Day. The Huffington Post shared that some early voters waited in line for up to nine hours in South Florida on Monday and on Saturday night, voters stood in line until 1:00 am at a Miami Dade polling place.

Whether or not you live in a swing state, and whether you are 18 or 88 years old, it is still important that you practice your democratic right and get out and vote. Every vote truly counts. “According to [political science professor Aura] Syed, some feel their personal vote has no impact on the election whatsoever, whereas others may be lazy or just uneducated on the voting process and where/how to register to vote,” wrote Braden Linick for The North Wind. “‘Nowadays, people can make more informed decisions on these issues,” Syed said. “They should vote because they are citizens and it is their civic duty to vote.’”