AP: Early Voting Means 2020 Primary Is Already Here for Millions

The Iowa caucuses are more than a week away, but millions of Americans are already free to vote, The Associated Press writes.

Early voting in the crush of Super Tuesday states that hold primaries on March 3 amounts to a parallel campaign for the Democratic nomination. While much of the focus is on who will come out on top in the traditional first four voting states, early voting will allow a much broader swath of voters to play a key role in picking the nominee.

In Minnesota, in-person early voting began Jan. 17. Vermont’s deadline to mail out its absentee ballots was the same day. Many of the 14 Super Tuesday states will offer some form of early voting between now and mid-February.

These states will test the organizational strength of the White House hopefuls. The campaigns must balance the demands of the first four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — while also making sure to target potential supporters in the Super Tuesday states that follow. Some campaigns must manage that two-step while their candidate is stuck in Washington participating in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

Several campaigns said they’ve been working to perfect this balance for months.

“Super Tuesday has never really been March 3 for us,” said Pete Kavanaugh, an adviser for former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign. “In our minds and from a resource allocation perspective, Super Tuesday begins in early February.”

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman, is ignoring the early states entirely and using his nearly bottomless resources to campaign hard in the Super Tuesday states, AP adds.

“We need supporters for Mike Bloomberg to vote early, independent of whatever is going on,” said Will Dubbs, deputy states director for Bloomberg’s campaign. “It is just very, very important for us to make sure we bank those votes, and we can concentrate our efforts elsewhere.”

Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, sees early voting as a way to boost turnout among core constituencies like young, minority and working-class voters. Early voting opens new opportunities for people with strict work schedules or other barriers to voting to find time to cast ballots beyond the typical Election Day, spokeswoman Sarah Ford said.

“Early voting is another vehicle to make sure those people have the opportunity to vote for Bernie,” she said.

The campaign of Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is educating volunteers in Minnesota, Colorado, California and Texas about the early voting process. And Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar rallied in her home state recently to mark the start of early voting and generate enthusiasm among voters who have sent her to the U.S. Senate three times, while freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar campaigned on behalf of Sanders.

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