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President Barack Obama plans to vote on Thursday  — and he’s not alone.

Two weeks before Election Day, with Obama leading by example, millions of Americans are already taking advantage of early voting opportunities in 32 states including Ohio, North Carolina, California, Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, Iowa and Washington, D.C..

With new polls showing the race between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney tied at 47 percent, Democratic leaders are hoping that early voting will favor Obama.

“This election is going to be close and could come down to a few thousand votes in a single state and so we need to have the President’s back as soon as possible,” Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, told

“Voting early means you aren’t leaving anything up to chance that can keep you from the polls,” Gaspard said. “There is too much at stake to sit on the sidelines, and that’s why voters from Florida to North Carolina to Ohio to Iowa shouldn’t wait for November 6th to cast their ballot.”

Obama campaign strategists and civil rights activists say the November 6 election could be the closest presidential election in history and could come down to a few votes in a few states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. In fact, for the 2008 presidential election, 30 percent of votes were cast early prior to Election Day.

“Many people work on Election Day and are not able to get to the polls,” said Eric Marshall, manager of legal mobilization at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Early voting provides a great option – allowing millions to exercise their right to vote – and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline is an excellent resource to guide them through the process”

In a recent conference call with reporters, Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director,  said Democrats are building on the historic grassroots organization that was put in place in Ohio in 2008, which included 125 Obama campaign offices in every corner of the state.

“As a result of that strong foundation and enthusiasm for President Obama, today we are ahead of where we were at this time against John McCain – and ahead of Mitt Romney,” Bird said.

In Ohio, Bird said, early voting is already paying off.

According to Bird, all public polling shows that the president has a double-digit lead among those who have voted:

•         Survey USA found that Obama leads by 19 points (57/38) among those who have voted already.

•         Rasmussen, a Republican pollster, found that Obama leads by 29 points (63/34) among those who have voted already.

•         The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that Obama leads by 26 points (63/37) among those who have voted already.

•         PPP found that Obama leads by 52 points (76/24) among those who have voted already.

“President Obama is winning early vote among primary election voters in the key battleground of Ohio,” Bird said.

Republicans, however, don’t agree. Romney campaign strategists say Ohio is up for grabs and they feel Romney is on track to win Ohio on Nov. 6.

The editors of the Columbus Dispatch are also trying to rally the troops around Romney’s candidacy through a recent endorsement of Romney.

“After nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction,” the newspaper said. “For this reason, The Dispatch urges voters to choose Republican Mitt Romney for president in the Nov. 6 election.”

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 monitors from the Advancement Project and its partners will monitor polling places in nine states on Election Day to help voters address any last-minute attempts at voter intimidation tactics to challenges to the rights of voters to cast their ballots.

The monitors will set up in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and Virginia.

“Following two years of pursuing extraordinary measures to limit the ability of many Americans to vote, there’s no reason to believe that effort won’t last through Election Day,”  Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, said in a statement. “On Election Day, we will be prepared and on hand to assist voters who find they face barriers at their polling place.”

In addition, to help voters if they need any assistance voting or to get help if they face any form of suppression, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Election Protection will provide voters assistance from fully-trained volunteers based in more than 28 call centers across the country and through its phone bank 800-OURVOTE and its website

The Election Protection Coalition is the nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The coalition has more than 100 partners, including the National Urban League, NAACP, the National Urban League, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Common Cause, the Brennan Center for Justice, Advancement Project, State Voices, National Bar Association, Native Vote, Asian-American Justice Center, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund and Rock the Vote.

“The reality is that since the Florida debacle in 2000, we’ve seen deliberate, systematic voter suppression tactics targeted at African Americans and Latinos,” Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told “We learned that this wasn’t a one-time occurrence but a full-time feature in the voting landscape.”

Here is a list of early-voting states:

North Carolina

Oct 18-Nov 3


Oct 9-Nov 5


Oct. 22-Nov 2


Oct 22-Nov 5


Oct 15-Nov 2


Sept. 21- Nov 2


Oct. 27-Nov 1


Nov. 2-Nov 5

South Dakota

Sept 21-Nov 6

West Virginia

Oct. 24-Nov 3


Oct. 23- Oct 30


Oct 17-Nov 1


Oct 22-Nov 2


Sept 22-Nov 5


Sept 22-Nov. 3


Oct 22-Nov 3


Sept 27-Nov 5

North Dakota

Oct 22-Nov 5


Sept 27-Nov 5


Oct. 1-Nov 5

Washington DC

Oct 22-Nov 3


Oct 27-Nov 3


Oct 2-Nov 5


Oct 7-Nov 5

New Mexico

Oct 20-Nov 3


Oct 23-Nov 2


Oct 11-Nov 2


Oct 22-Nov 5


Oct 22-Nov 2


Oct 23-Nov 3


Oct 17-Nov 5


Oct 20-Nov 2

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