Mitt Romney is currently trailing in the polls with only 42 days until the election. That “42 days” number, however, overstates the time he really has left to change the dynamics of the race. Thanks to early voting rules, the actual amount of time he has is significantly less.
Most of the important swing states have some form of early voting, and a large percentage of voters will take advantage of it this year. Listed below are the dates when in-person early voting starts in the most of the swing states:
September 27th, Iowa - Voters can start casting in person absentee ballots.
October 2nd, Ohio – In person early voting begins.
October 18th, North Carolina – In person early voting begins.
October 20th, Nevada – In person early voting begins.
October 22nd, Colorado – In person early voting begins.
October 27th, Florida – In person early voting begins.
In addition to early voting, there is also voting-by-mail. Many of those ballots will be mailed out in the next few weeks, well in advance of the official election day.
Early voting is extremely popular and in many important swing states a majority of votes will likely be cast before November 6th. For example in 2008, early voting accounted for 51.8% of the vote in Florida, 60.6% in North Carolina, 66.9% of the vote in Nevada and a remarkable 78.9 percent in Colorado.
In reality Romney has probably less than a month to make up a several point deficit before a significant portion of the vote is already cast in many of his must-win states.
Graphic by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com under Creative Commons License