11/05/12 — Early voting count higher

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Early voting count higher

By From Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on November 5, 2012 1:46 PM

Slightly more than half of Wayne County's eligible voters cast their ballots during the one-stop voting period that ended on Saturday.

That follows a state and national trend, with millions of people making up their minds ahead of Election Day.

In Wayne County, just over 51 percent of the electorate had voted as of Saturday, when one-stop voting ended. On Saturday, 2,147 people voted.

The 35,642 ballots cast in Wayne topped the 34,332 cast during one-stop voting prior to the presidential election four years ago.

The county has 69,785 registered voters, including 35,890 Democrats, 21,954 Republicans, 12,856 registered unaffiliated and 85 registered Libertarians.

Democrats accounted for more than half -- 18,954 -- of the early votes cast, followed by Republicans with 11,6341, unaffiliated with 4,992, and Libertarians with 65.

More whites -- 20,533 -- voted than blacks (13,696) and more women -- 19,972 -- voted than men (15,108).

The final totals by voting site were:

* Wayne County Public Library, 14,842

* Woodmen of the World, 11,791

* First Congregational Church, 6,257

* Johnston Ambulance Service, 1,729

* Fremont Town Hall, 1,023.

Across the country, about 30 million people have already voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia, either by mail or in person. No votes will be counted until Tuesday but some key states are releasing the party affiliation of those who vote early.

In North Carolina, 2.7 million people have voted, 48 percent of them Democrats and 32 percent Republicans.

In Florida, another key battleground state, 4.3 million people have voted, 43 percent of them Democrats and 40 percent Republicans. In Ohio, which is considered crucial to a win by either President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney, 1.6 million people have cast ballots, 29 percent Democrats and 23 percent Republicans.

With one day left in their stubbornly deadlocked race, Obama and Romney are storming through a final exhaustive campaign push today that won't end until the wee hours of Election Day in pursuit of every possible vote.

Both candidates say the winner will be determined by which of their operations can get the most supporters to the polls. "This is going to be a turnout election," the president declared in an interview airing this morning as he pleaded with urban radio listeners to get to the polls.

With national polls showing a neck-and-neck race, the final day's schedule showed where the two campaigns believe the race will be decided. Romney was in Florida, Virginia, and New Hampshire, while Obama was trying to protect Wisconsin from an eleventh-hour challenge from the GOP before heading to Iowa.

And, in an indication of just how all-important Ohio was once again to the future occupancy of the White House, both candidates planned to be on the ground in Columbus tonight for dueling rallies seven miles apart.

Whoever wins Ohio has a simpler path to amass the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency. With Obama showing a lead in most polls of the state's likely voters, Romney voiced guarded optimism Sunday in Cleveland, saying Obama's re-election is "possible, but not likely."

Obama also raised the possibility of defeat as he pleaded with listeners of The Rickey Smiley Morning Show to get to the polls. "If we don't turn out the vote, we could lose a lot of the gains we've already made," Obama said.

It was one of two of the president's radio interviews airing today aimed at turning out minority voters, the other with a Spanish-language station in Ohio. The president is relying on black and Hispanic voters to help offset Romney's lead with white men in particular, but the risk for him is that some of those key supporters aren't as motivated to vote as they were in 2008.

"Four years ago, we had incredible turnout and I know people were excited and energized about the prospect of making history," Obama said. "We have to preserve the gains we've made and keep moving forward."

Both candidates will also benefit from some star power today. Rock legend Bruce Springsteen is joining Obama at all three campaign rallies, and rapper Jay-Z will join him in Columbus. Romney planned a final rally in the last hour of Election Eve in New Hampshire with Kid Rock while country rock performers The Marshall Tucker Band was joining him in Columbus.

A final national NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll showed Obama getting the support of 48 percent of likely voters, with Romney receiving 47 percent. A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll had Obama at 49 and Romney at 48. A Pew Research Center poll released Sunday showed Obama with a three-point edge over Romney, 48 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

Defying the odds, Romney drew one of his largest crowds Sunday in Pennsylvania, a state where Obama was holding onto a lead but where Romney aides said they detected soft support for the president. Despite a delayed arrival, Romney rallied thousands on a farm in a Philadelphia suburb on a cold night, taking the podium as loudspeakers blared the theme from "Rocky."

Obama dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Pennsylvania today for an eleventh-hour bid to keep the state in his column.

Both men were spending the final days of the campaign presenting themselves as can-do leaders willing to break partisan logjams in Washington.

The former Massachusetts governor warned that a second Obama term would threaten the American economy because of the president's inability to work with Congress. "He's ignored them, he's attacked them, he's blamed them," Romney said.

Obama cited bipartisan work on middle-class tax cuts and on ending the Pentagon's don't-ask-don't-tell policy, but warned that he would not compromise away his priorities, such as health care. "I'm not willing to pay that price," he said.

As aides for both candidates looked for early marks of success, there were signs for the superstitious. Since 1936, with only one exception, whenever the Washington Redskins won on the Sunday before the election, the incumbent party would retain the White House. On Sunday, the Redskins lost to the Carolina Panthers, giving hope to Republicans.

But the Obama camp often compares this election to 2004, when President George W. Bush held the White House in his race against Democrat John Kerry. That year was the exception to the rule; the Redskins lost, and so did Kerry.