Until the last few election cycles almost all voters in a large majority of states had to go to the polls on election day to cast their ballots. During the last two presidential elections this has changed dramatically. Last November approximately 30% of voters cast their ballots early, either through the mail or in person. This marks a significant change in the way Americans vote and is forcing a similar shift in the way many campaigns get out their voters: most notably and successfully, in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.
Today's Dispatch outlines the major policies that states are pursuing that are driving these changes, how they benefit voters and election administrators, and the GOTV opportunities for candidates where early voting is becoming the norm.