(WASHINGTON) — The polls open Tuesday in Ohio, the second battleground state to open up early in-person voting to residents. Last week, Iowa became the first battleground state to begin early voting.
Ohio is one of 32 states (plus the District of Columbia) that allows no-excuse early voting, meaning that any registered voter can head to the polls before election day and cast their ballot.
The Secretary of State’s office reports that more than 920,000 absentee ballot applications have been received statewide already by county boards of elections in the Buckeye state. Ohio currently boasts 7.8 million registered voters — those voters have 35 days to get to a voting location or mail in their ballot.
Early voting has become an increasing popular form of voting in recent years. Over the past several years, the number of voters voting early or by absentee has increased by 50 percent each cycle. This year, the number is expected to continue to increase.
Last week, Iowa became the first battleground state to open up the polls for early voters. Voters across the state gathered as early as 6:45 a.m. to walk over to their voting locations together. For the most part, early voters in the state will not cast their ballot at a polling site, but will go to their county courthouses.
While the number of voters who turned out Tuesday morning to be the first to cast their ballots in the Hawkeye state is not yet available, over 185,000 absentee ballots have been requested, and just over 3,500 have been returned, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.
So far, those ballots tilt heavily towards the Democrats. About 119,000 of the 185,000 requested are from registered Democrats, while a little more than 24,000 are from registered Republicans. The remaining ballots come from voters registered as “no party” or “other.” Republicans do boast an advantage in terms of total registered voters in the state, however, with about 620,000 to 602,000, according to figures from the secretary of state’s office.
While both parties in the state have made a push to encourage voters to vote by mail, Democrats and Republicans take a different strategy in the types of voters they’re targeting. Democrats are mostly talking to their base voters when it comes to mobilizing people to vote by mail or come out to the polls and cast their vote early. Those are supporters who are definitely going to vote, it’s just a question of when, a Democratic source in Iowa told ABC News.
Republicans are focusing more on voters that they deem less likely to vote on election day, a GOP source said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio