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World Map / Upcoming Elections / US Presidential election 2016 / US Election Updates / Early voting set to start in U.S. election

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US Election Updates - September 20, 2012

Early voting set to start in U.S. election

The November 6 election may be seven weeks away but early, in-person voting begins in two states on Friday.

This comes as Democrats and Republicans battle it out in court over controversial plans to limit such voting before Election Day.

Idaho and South Dakota are the first states to begin early voting.

North Carolina has been accepting absentee ballots by mail since September 6.

By the end of this month, 30 states will have begun either in-person or absentee voting.

The focus of the early voting period will be on the swing states of Ohio and Florida, seen as crucial in deciding the race between Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The states have also been at the center of a row in which Democrats have accused Republican-led legislatures of trying to limit early voting periods in order to curb turnout of working-class and minority voters, who tend to support Democrats.

The restrictions on early voting are among several election laws passed by Republican-led legislatures since 2010.

Other laws, also challenged by Democrats and voting-rights groups, are aimed at limiting voter registration and requiring voters to show photo IDs. Republicans claim the laws are to prevent voter fraud.

The push to curb early voting came after Obama's early voting campaign in 2008 led him to victory over Republican Senator John McCain.

Early voting formed a large part of Obama's success in 2008. Nearly a quarter of the 133 million people who voted that year had cast their ballots before Election Day.

According to previous polls, Democratic voters across several swing states are more likely than Republicans to vote ahead of time.