Intelligence Report: Countdown to Vote Count

November 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)

There were still lines of people waiting to vote early in several states Monday evening, even though early voting in Illinois wrapped up on Saturday. There was still early voting under way in Iowa, Ohio, and several counties in Florida wrapped up in the late afternoon.

So, these record numbers are likely to increase: More than 30 million early votes cast already, before Election Day. That is going to end up being 35 to 40 percent of the vote total for Election 2012.

And, despite what you may have heard, not a single one of those early votes has been counted yet. By law, the ballots, all of them, are counted once the polls close.

In Illinois, that will be about a fifth of all votes -- with record numbers -- more than 500,000 early ballots cast in Chicago and Cook County.

The DuPage County early voting is down slightly.

The state total: A little more than 900,000 early votes.

What does that mean for the presidential race? Both sides agree on this: Turnout Tuesday is the key, regardless of how they have done in the early vote.

Many experts see six key states Tuesday, among them Colorado, unique because there are now more Republicans registered than Democrats, a reversal of 2008 when President Obama won.

In Iowa, 40,000 Democrats and 21,000 Republicans haven't returned their mail ballots.

Then there is Ohio, where voters don't have to register by party, that may end up determining the outcome of the presidential election.

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